Liverpool F.C. manager Brendan Rodgers believes £32.5 million summer recruit Christian Benteke will turn out to be a “bargain” buy for the club.
Over the past three English Premier League seasons, the Belgium international, who joined Aston Villa from K.R.C. Genk for £7 million in the summer of 2012, has scored 42 goals in 88 matches.
Benteke, best-priced at 20/1 to be the Premier League’s top goalscorer in 2015/16, faces competition from Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings, Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino for a regular-place in Rodgers’ starting XI next season, with Italian duo Fabio Borini and Mario Balotelli likely to leave Anfield for pastures new in the coming weeks.
However, all signs seem to be suggesting Benteke will be Rodgers’ first-choice striker next term, and rightly so.
“For me, I think he’ll prove to be a bargain for the club. I really do,” Rodgers told the club’s official website.
“I’ve read and seen things about his game but in the short period of time he’s been in, I’ve been even more impressed.
“I’ve seen him up close now for three years, stood at the side of the field and watching this guy – not just his power and strength but also his footballing ability.
“One of the goals I remember he scored against us at Anfield, he ran half-way through the field. This isn’t someone who lacks pace, movement and intelligence.
“He’s not just a guy who you chuck the ball up to. Of course, his strength allows you to keep the ball, but he’ll really help the unpredictability of our game this season.
“We know he can play football, we know he can play counter-attack, but we also know when we cross the ball, we’ve got a real presence in the box that is going to allow us to keep the ball in the box for periods of time and for others to get goals from.
“Obviously he doesn’t set the price and I’m thankful the club have brought him in because I really think at 24 years of age, he’s going to be a huge asset for us.
“He’s surprised people in the early stages of life at Liverpool with that mobility and the quickness of his feet – and his natural power and strength is there to see.”
Benteke, 24, bagged 13 goals and two assists in 29 Premier League appearances for Villa last season.
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