Football

Christian Benteke signing will pay dividends for Liverpool

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Monday Night Football has had it's fair share of exciting and entertaining matches and Liverpool's home clash with AFC Bournemouth was no exception.

The Premier League new boys looked to take the lead early on from captain Tommy Elphick but had the effort unfairly ruled out by referee Craig Pawson.

The Cherries were then victim to more poor officiating as Liverpool's winning goal from Christian Benteke should have been ruled out for offside. However, away from the controversy, Benteke did actually perform well throughout and is starting to live up to his big price tag.

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The Belgian striker joined Liverpool this Summer from Aston Villa for a fee of £32.5 million, after the Merseyside club sold other attacking players such as Iago Aspas, Rickie Lambert and Raheem Sterling.

With these departures and the current injury of Daniel Sturridge, Benteke will certainly get the first team action he'd like to have and is currently playing as the sole striker in Brendan Rodgers new formation. 

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Career so far

The 24 year old started his career at Genk and had spells at other clubs in the Belgian Pro League before making the move to Villa Park in 2012. He netted 42 times for Aston Villa over three seasons, getting his first goal on his debut in the Premier League: a 2-0 victory over Swansea City.

He mostly served under ex-Villa boss Paul Lambert before his sacking earlier this year. After that Tim Sherwood took over the Birmingham club and Benteke regained his form which had been lacking from most of the season.

Having only scored two goals in the entire season, the arrival of Tim Sherwood spelled 11 goals in nine games including his second ever Premier League hat-trick. After impressing so much in the last games of the season, he was highly linked with a move away before he eventually made the switch to Anfield in late July.

Despite being born in the DR Congo, he eventually started his international career with Belgium because of his dual-nationality after the Congolese FA never even contacted him. He made his senior debut against Bulgaria in a friendly. He has since scored seven goals in 24 caps but missed out in the 2014 World Cup finals because of injury.

The man for Rodgers

Benteke made his first appearance for Liverpool in a pre-season friendly scoring the winning goal against Swindon Town and made his first competitive appearance in the Premier League's opening weekend.

Liverpool avenged a 6-1 defeat at Stoke somewhat less emphatically, winning 0-1 thanks to a late Philippe Coutinho stunner. Benteke struggled in the opening game, however, barely touching the ball in a scoring position throughout. 

Monday night's game was a different story entirely for the forward and he was active all over the field, impressing with skill and strength on the ball.

He scored the opener 26 minutes in, poking the ball in from four yards out, even through Coutinho's attempt to get on the end of Jordan Henderson's cross should have ruled the goal offside as Bournemouth keeper Artur Boruc was left stranded. Benteke went on to get several other chances, forcing a save from Boruc and hitting the woodwork.

BBC Sport awarded Man of the Match to Christian Benteke, just pipping impressive Cherries left back Charlie Daniels at the post. With Sturridge still out, Benteke will most likely feature in Liverpool's next game at Arsenal keeping back up man, Danny Ings, out of the first eleven.

Brendan Rodgers should be ecstatic with his new signing and fans will hope the good performances continue throughout the season, but will he justify the huge cost? Gary Lineker thinks so:

"Contrary to the thoughts of some, I think Benteke will score a lot of goals for Liverpool and prove to be an excellent signing."

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Topics:
Football
Liverpool
Christian Benteke

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