Christian Benteke will be afforded time to develop at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, with the coach citing the positive effect of patience in the careers of Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Belgian striker has struggled with injuries since Klopp took the helm at Anfield but won a penalty and scored in the 2-1 win over Bordeaux on Thursday – his third start under the German.
The 48-year-old admitted he has been a long-term admirer of Benteke’s talents and is confident he can emulate the likes of Lewandowski and Aubameyang if afforded the patience he considers rare in the Premier League.
“I know a lot about Christian Benteke because when he was at Aston Villa, we were interested too, everyone was interested,” Klopp said.
“A brilliant player but like everyone else, if you are injured and come back, everyone thinks now you have to be the Benteke that he has shown he can be straight away.
“Each person needs time for this so he can get better, better, better.
“I can tell you that I am not sure that Robert Lewandowski could have developed into the Robert Lewandowski of today in England because no one is patient enough to wait for this.
“He made eight goals in his first year and I don’t know what you would write about him if he made eight goals in one year and played all the time: not good enough, come on, sell him.
“Aubameyang needed three years for this performance at the moment [23 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions this season], so sometimes you have to work together. It is very important in football.”
Despite doubts over Daniel Sturridge’s fitness due to a foot injury, Klopp believes Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi offer plenty of depth and potential in attack.
“There is no doubt about the quality of all the strikers that we have, no doubt, now we have to help them to show it better and better,” he added.
“A striker more than any players needs the help of the rest of the team, they cannot take the ball and go through and make a goal so they need fine-tuned football, played here, played there, crosses, whatever.
“Give them the ball in the right area, that is what we try and do but there is no doubt to the quality.”