Christian Benteke hasn’t had the most successful starts to his Liverpool career since his big money move from Aston Villa last summer.
The striker has fallen down the pecking order at Anfield, behind both Daniel Sturridge and fellow Belgian Divock Origi, with manager Jurgen Klopp seemingly not convinced by the 25-year-old.
However, Benteke had his best moment in a Liverpool shirt at the weekend when he won a 95th-minute penalty, before picking himself up and cooly slotting past Alex McCarthy to give Liverpool a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.
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Former Liverpool player Jamie Redknapp praised Benteke after Sunday’s victory, highlighting the importance of the seven league goals he has scored this campaign.
“Christian Benteke has had a tough time this season,” Redknapp wrote in his Daily Mail column.
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“Jurgen Klopp clearly doesn’t fancy him but I’m sure he won’t complain if the Belgian keeps chipping in with valuable goals.
“Benteke’s goals have been worth nine points this season and without them, Liverpool would be 14th.
"He’s a good player but maybe he doesn’t fit Klopp’s style. I’ve yet to see Klopp’s style — we’ll see that next season — but if he does sell Benteke in the summer, goals like these will keep his price up,” he concluded.
The Sky Sports pundit is referring to Benteke’s winning goals against Bournemouth, Leicester, Sunderland, Palace plus a goal which won a point against Southampton this season.
Those extra nine points mean the Reds are seventh, rather than 14th, with an outside chance of achieving a top-four finish.
After his winning penalty against the Eagles, Benteke demonstrated his fantastic attitude by telling reporters: "It's in the most difficult situations that the real warriors, the tough men and determined guys stand up," he said. In a career you'll never only have top moments, you also have your difficult times.
"In a career you'll never only have top moments, you also have your difficult times.
"You have to be up for it. I have to take every chance, every minute the manager gives me."
Champions League hopes
Kopites will be hoping Benteke can contribute slightly more in the remainder of the season as the striker attempts to pay back his huge £32.5 million fee last summer.
With Klopp’s men trailing Manchester City by six points with ten matches remaining, Benteke and his teammates will need to be almost faultless until the end of the season to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Of course, there’s an alternative way to qualify for next season’s elite European competition these days and that’s by winning the Europa League.
Liverpool face rivals Manchester United in the first-leg of the last-16 at Anfield on Thursday, hoping to gain revenge after the Red Devils completed the league double over them this season.
Benteke has made just three appearances in the eight European matches this term, scoring once, but will no doubt be called upon as the club look for their fourth UEFA Cup/Europa League triumph in Basel in May.
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