Liverpool striker Christian Benteke has dismissed criticism of his ability from two former coaches as he prepares for his first season at Anfield.
Benteke opened his Liverpool account on Sunday with a stunning volley in a 2-1 friendly win over Swindon Town, and the Belgium international believes he “can produce the goals” to lead his new club back to the UEFA Champions League.
But with Liverpool reportedly paying £32.5million for the ex-Aston Villa marksman, there has been a lot of speculation on whether Benteke can succeed at Anfield.
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood declared in May that the powerful forward should not go to a club “where they don’t cross the ball”.
Benteke agreed Sherwood “helped… a lot” last season, but rejected the notion he is one-dimensional.
“I don’t believe that what he said is true and I told him that,” Benteke told the Liverpool Echo on Thursday.
“I spoke with him and I explained the situation. I said football has changed and the football now is modern and I can adapt.
“It is not just about crossing, I can score normal goals too. I told him I am not afraid about it. If Liverpool bought me then they know how to use me.
“That’s why I came here – I’ll show I can play with my feet too.”
Benteke scored at a ratio of a goal-per-game for his last 11 Premier League matches with Villa as he helped the Birmingham-based outfit avoid relegation.
The former Genk striker left Villa Park with 42 league goals in 89 appearances but former Villa assistant coach Roy Keane has previously claimed Benteke will not make it at the top level due to a lack of commitment at training.
“He can say what he wants,” Benteke responded.
“I don’t want to be arrogant but since I came to England I’ve proved I wasn’t a bad player.”
Benteke added that he understands there will be a different type of pressure with Liverpool compared to Villa – “here it’s the pressure to be at the top” – but remains confident he can thrive.
“Of course I want to get into the Champions League. I can help Liverpool do that,” he said.
Liverpool will open their Premier League campaign against Stoke City on Sunday.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!