Brendan Rodgers hails Christian Benteke

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Brendan Rodgers has hailed Christian Benteke's performance during Liverpool's 1-0 win against Bournemouth on Monday night at Anfield and feels the striker adds "another dimension" to the Reds' game, reports the club's official site.

The Belgium international scored his first goal for his new side on his home debut when he smartly diverted Jordan Henderson's cross past Artur Boruc.

Not only did he score but Benteke performed boldly from the first to the final whistle, impressively laying the ball off to his team-mates and winning aerial duals that Liverpool lacked last season.


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And Rodgers - who made Benteke his principal target this summer and cost £32.5 million from Aston Villa - was extremely pleased with the 24-year-old's performance and insists he will only get better in the upcoming months.

“I thought he was a real handful tonight - you saw all the facets of his game," the Liverpool manager said during his post-match press conference. 

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“His hold-up play is outstanding, he’s got a wonderful touch for a big guy and you saw that this evening. He can help the ball on to areas, he can take the ball in, control and switch the game, his touch is good and you see him linking and combining.

“There was one moment when the ball came into the box – which is one of the reasons we looked to bring him in – and because of his strength and power, he tried to make contact with it. It dropped and we had a chance with Coutinho to then shoot.

“In my time here, that’s never really happened and the ball’s come in and maybe been cleared out, but because of his physicality and contact, he keeps the ball alive in a dangerous area of the field.

“That will really help and once the players get used to seeing and working with that, it’ll offer us more opportunities to score goals.

“It gives us a different dimension to our game, whilst looking to retain that philosophy to move the ball and get fluency. That will come and grow over the coming months.”


The overall effort from the Reds against Bournemouth wasn't the most inspiring; however, Rodgers, the players and the fans will be extremely satisfied with maximum points from their opening two games.

Effectively, Liverpool have a completely new side and they are still learning to play to one another's strengths. Four summer signings started against the Cherries and Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren joined just 12 months ago and there is a rebuild at Anfield.

After a slow start against Stoke last week, Benteke shone in front of club owner John Henry, who was in the crowd watching, and highlighted why such a significant fee was paid for him.

Over the past two season's, Liverpool have relied on fast, counter-attacking football that the opponents soon began to become accustomed to.

However, with Benteke leading the front-line, it allows the Reds to vary their tactics and create confusion in the opposite camp.

Defensive Improvements

Two games have passed and Simon Mignolet has two clean sheets to his name.

Over the past two campaigns, Liverpool's back-line has been their achilles heel and conceding a combined 98 goals in the league.

New arrivals Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez have added much needed stability to Rodgers' defence, who both were solid against Bournemouth.

It wasn't until October when Liverpool won back-to-back games in the Premier League last term and it is indeed a contrasting image this season which Rodgers has credited his defence for.

“I’m pleased we’ve got two wins, six points and two clean sheets," the Northern Irishman added.

“Defensive organisation has been good and that’s important for us.

“There are a lot of new players that have come into the club and it will take them a little bit of time to bed in. What we’re seeing is a character and spirit in the team and that’s going to be important for us.

“We know the qualities we have and we know as players find fitness at this stage of the season and get more game time, our game will become better.

“My concern at this period was showing that steel and determination to get results and to make a good start.

“I think last season it wasn’t until October when we got back-to-back wins, so to get that in the first two games is pleasing – but we still have a lot of work to do.”


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Brendan Rodgers
Christian Benteke
Premier League

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