Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has backed misfiring striker Christian Benteke to rediscover his goalscoring form after another fruitless performance in front of goal.
Klopp’s side were knocked out of the FA Cup fourth round on Tuesday after a 2-1 loss in extra-time away to West Ham, courtesy of a 121st-minute winner from Angelo Ogbonna.
Benteke – a £35million signing from Aston Villa in the off-season – had nine shots on goal in the 120 minutes but failed to find the back of the net, extending his goalless run to 11 games in all competitions.
The Belgium international has managed to score just seven times in 30 appearances this term, but Klopp has backed the 25-year-old to get out of his slump.
“Ask 80-90 per cent of all strikers in the world – high-quality, low-quality, no quality – they will tell you they have times like this,” the German manager said.
“You have to carry on, you have to go on. All the people in the world want the easy goal but the easy goal doesn’t help. You have to play and improve, that’s how it always is.
“Tonight, it was a really good game without the maximum finish, that’s right but he worked a lot so that’s a big step. That’s good for us, that’s good for him.”
Daniel Sturridge made his return to action after a two-month layoff and Klopp is hopeful he can begin to have some consistency within his line-up.
“Tomorrow is recovery. It was great – [Philippe] Coutinho was back, [Divock] Origi was back too – but we need consistency in the line-up,” he added.
“We need things that we want to change, not that we have to change. You saw the game so write what you saw, not what I say.
“We have to talk first, with Daniel and the medical staff before we make decisions about this [his next step].
“The game was a little longer than I thought because I thought we could decide it after 90 minutes but we didn’t so it was 30 minutes plus.”