Crystal Palace’s interest in Christian Benteke has hardly been a well-kept secret this summer, but now, Jurgen Klopp has suggested that it’s time for the Belgian to move on.
Having signed for the club prior to the affable German’s arrival in the Merseyside dugout, former Aston Villa frontman Benteke has found it extremely difficult to build anything approaching momentum over the last year with the Reds.
After making a name for himself whilst almost single-handedly keeping Aston Villa afloat during the 2014-15 Premier League season, the 25-year-old Belgium international had seen his £32 million move to the North West as a signal of his graduation to football’s elite goalscorers, but in the months that have followed, the much-discussed transfer fee has acted as nothing more than a millstone around his neck.
For what it’s worth, Benteke’s struggles haven’t all been a direct consequence of his own poor performances, after finding himself marooned in a tactical set-up which made a very visible point of not playing to his specific strengths. Often starting games on the bench under the guidance of Klopp, Benteke still managed to bag ten goals in all competitions last season, including one particularly controversial late winner against Palace at Selhurst Park.
Whilst there doesn’t appear to be any semblance of bad blood between the Reds’ boss and Benteke, his comments in the article attached above are the most direct suggestion yet that the imposing striker’s presence at Anfield is no longer required. With such an open stance on the issue, you would assume that, regardless of Benteke’s personal aims, his days at Liverpool are numbered.
Whether this admission from Klopp will provoke fresh discussions between Palace and Liverpool is yet to be seen, but after weeks of shadow-boxing, it looks as though the Liverpool camp are now doing all they can to shift Benteke from under their feet.