Thursday, May 25, 2017

Benteke seeks Klopp assurances

SoccerNews in English Premier League 8 Jun 2016

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Christian Benteke hopes to remain at Liverpool but will seek to leave Anfield if he is unable to earn regular first-team football.

The Belgium international has endured a disappointing first season on Merseyside, having been signed by Brendan Rodgers only to see the manager sacked in October.

Rodgers’ successor, Jurgen Klopp, has used the centre-forward sparingly, with Benteke – who also suffered separate thigh and knee injuries last term – managing only 14 Premier League starts in 2015-16 following his move from Aston Villa.

The striker is part of the Belgium squad set to take on Italy, Sweden and Republic of Ireland at Euro 2016 and, ahead of his team’s opening game against the Azzurri in Lyon on Monday, has spoken of his need to secure a place in the first XI for his club moving forward.

“At 25 years old, I’m neither old nor young but it’s important to play,” Benteke told a media conference.

“I still have a contract at Liverpool and I’d like to stay there, if I remain in the coach’s plans. 

“If that’s not the case, it will become difficult to stay. I’ll think about if after the Euros.

“I was prepared for what I went through [last season]. I knew that if I had mixed performances I would be criticised. That’s what happened.”

While many observers were not surprised when Klopp – who favours a high-tempo, mobile frontline – appeared reluctant to use Benteke, the player himself has claimed the German had been tracking him during the coach’s time at Borussia Dortmund.

“When he [Klopp] arrived I saw that I wasn’t in his plans,” he said.

“That was frustrating because I knew that during my first season at Aston Villa he wanted me.

“But we had several discussions together – I respect and I understand his decisions.”

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