Football

Brendan Rodgers hopes for Benteke boost

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hopes the imminent arrival of Christian Benteke will instantly boost his side's firepower.

Press Association Sport understands the Aston Villa striker will undergo the first part of a two-stage medical with Reds team doctor Andy Massey, who flew in from Adelaide after leaving the club's pre-season tour early, in London on Monday afternoon with the process continuing on Tuesday.

Rodgers made the Belgian his primary target after watching Liverpool score just 52 times in the Premier League last season - down from 101 the previous campaign when Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge almost fired them to the title.

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On Sunday, Liverpool concluded negotiations on a payment structure which will see them pay £16million up front and the remainder of his £32.5million release clause over the length of his contract.

"It was just clear we needed to score more goals," said Rodgers in quotes reported by the Liverpool Echo.

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"A few years ago we needed to improve our goal tally and we did that and it gave the team a little bit of profit. I feel it was the same this summer.

"We were down on our goals. Overall it is the balance we need to improve offensively and defensively and the players that will contribute to both."

The capture of Benteke is seen as a show of support for the manager from owners Fenway Sports Group after a robust end-of-season review of a sixth-placed finish resulted in the sacking of assistant manager Colin Pascoe and first team coach Mike Marsh's contract not being renewed.

England Under-19 manager Sean O'Driscoll, former midfielder Gary McAllister and academy coach Pepijn Lijnders have been added to the backroom staff while there has been significant recruitment on the playing side.

Brazil international Roberto Firmino, who will become the club's second-most expensive signing after arriving in a £29million deal from Hoffenheim, will be at the club's Melwood training ground on Wednesday to begin preparations for the new season.

He and compatriot Philippe Coutinho have been on extended leave after their involvement in the Copa America but will not meet up with the rest of the squad until they return after a friendly in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

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Topics:
Aston Villa
Liverpool
Premier League
Football

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