Struggling Liverpool striker Christian Benteke must work even harder to get through a poor patch of form, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.
Benteke has failed to find the back of the net in 2016 – his last goal coming against Sunderland on December 30 – and Klopp revealed he has had a number of talks with the Belgian forward about his form.
But Klopp said while he is there to encourage and push the striker, it is ultimately up to Benteke to start putting the ball in the back of the net.
“I can do a lot of things but at the end – and it is not only with Christian – the last important help comes from the player himself,” he said.
“It is not the easiest period of his career but the number of opportunities is a good sign. If he had no opportunities it would be a much bigger problem but it is not too easy.
“You cannot hide yourself. I talked to him a few times and gave him some advice as a human being and a coach and he has really tried to come back to an easy moment.
“Strikers who do not score goals for a longer period, it is more interesting than if someone else does not score enough. There are worse situations in the world – even in the world of football – so we have to carry on and he has to carry on.”
However, Benteke might find the game time he needs to get into form hard to come by with plenty of competition for places in the side.
Klopp has preferred Roberto Firmino to date and the return of Daniel Sturridge and youngster Divock Origi provide further obstacles to the starting line-up for the Belgium international.
“When crosses come into the box – and the cross is good – and Christian Benteke is not close to it, then something is wrong,” said Klopp.
“He had these opportunities and he was reacting on the ball and had opportunities after set-pieces. But when you miss a goal, or a chance, it is not like it would be usually because you are thinking, ‘Still it didn’t change’.
“We speak about it like it is an illness. It is not. It is a situation and you can solve the problem on the pitch or in training or in both moments.
“It is not as bad as it sounds. Carry on, but you have to change things or the problem will not be solved.”
Benteke could get the chance to get back among the goals against his old club Aston Villa on Sunday when he makes his first appearance at Villa Park since leaving the club for Anfield in the off-season.