Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has labelled the out-of-favour Christian Benteke a “complete striker” and dismissed suggestions the Belgian could be allowed to leave Anfield.
Benteke has found himself out of Klopp’s first-choice starting XI in recent weeks and has scored just seven goals in all competitions since his big-money move from Aston Villa before the start of the season.
However, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup third-round replay against Exeter City, Klopp hailed the quality of the 25-year-old and insisted he is not for sale.
“He needs to stay cool – of course he has a future here,” said Klopp.
“We don’t score enough goals, so I understand why you ask about the striker – in your mind the only striker we have. He is on the bench and that seems to be strange, but not in my opinion.
“We have to think about how we create chances. First of all we cannot hope that we can get the ball into the box and then maybe Christian will finish it.
“He always has the possibility to play, but you have to look how it fits. For example we had games with Roberto [Firmino] and Christian at number 10 and number nine. It did not work but that does not mean we can never play like this.
“To have Christian on the bench is a quality sign.”
Klopp also reiterated the fact that he almost signed Benteke when he was manager of Borussia Dortmund.
“I met him, plus his agent, at Dusseldorf airport,” he added.
“We saw a lot of games he played in, his technical skills, his heading and his finishing skills. From all those things he is a complete striker but you have to work for it.
“He hasn’t finished his development, and we as a team haven’t.”
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