July 22, 2015: The day Liverpool confirmed the signing of the second most expensive asset in their history. That asset was Christian Benteke.
The Belgian striker moved to Anfield for the hefty fee of £32.5million from Aston Villa, second only to the £35m paid for the services of Andy Carroll from Newcastle United in 2011.
Benteke’s recent arrival has spurred up similar responses from when the Geordie forward arrived at Anfield, the main response begging the question: “Is he really worth the fee?”
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In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of Liverpool's newest man, discussing the possible effects on both the club and the player.
"He's a big guy but he's got the attributes that I like in terms of pace and movement and he gets goals, he gets all types of goals," Brendan Rodgers said, speaking to Sky Sports.
As Rodgers stated, Benteke undoubtedly is a goalscorer. He scored 12 in his last 12 games for Villa, and boasted 42 in 88 games overall there. More importantly. these goals came in the Premier League, something that the Reds missed desperately last season.
Paul Lambert, Benteke’s former manager at Villa, believes Benteke will be a success at Anfield. Benteke was signed by Lambert from Genk for £7m in 2012.
“Well, Christian Benteke will score for Liverpool. The chances they create, he will score. He is very good with his feet. I knew that anyway from signing him and I think he will be a terrific signing,” Lambert said.
The presence of Benteke could also be a real factor in Liverpool discovering their attacking threat. Due to his size and ability it is likely that the Belgian will often occupy the centre-backs of the opposition, leaving space for the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana to move in and create opportunities.
The Belgian will also be looking to do a similar job for when Daniel Sturridge returns from injury.
Benteke will also bring something different to Liverpool’s play, a ‘Plan B’ possibly. He will add power upfront that the likes of Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli failed to assert last season, as well as an option on the counter-attack. He's a player who can hold the ball up, which would fix an issue in Liverpool’s play from last season.
Adding to the forward's potential influences on the field, he will also be adding to the growing Belgian contingency within the squad. Benteke will arrive to find fellow countrymen Simon Mignolet and Divock Origi already at Melwood.
These fellow countrymen could be a real help to the Belgian forward when he arrives, especially goalkeeper Mignolet, who arrived in Merseyside in 2013.
The money spent on the Belgian forward will not fill the Anfield supporters with much hope. A sizeable fee often comes with added pressure, a level of pressure that some players fail to perform under.
Recent history has shown that big money purchases at Anfield haven’t always been successful. Players such as Carroll, Dejan Lovren and Alberto Aquilani all moved to Anfield for north of £20m and struggled to find their best form. This will further add pressure on Benteke to perform.
What's more, Benteke will be compared to forwards bought for a similar price; the likes of Diego Costa, Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero to name a few.
Does he fit the style?
There are many sceptics throughout supporters and pundits alike about how the Belgian striker will fit in and if he can play in Liverpool’s style effectively.
Realistically, the stats don’t lie. In looking at specific stats from last season’s performances it is clear Benteke must adapt in order to truly fit Liverpool’s style.
Out of all the 48 players at both Aston Villa and Liverpool last season the striker held the worst passing accuracy. Liverpool may also have to change in order to get the best out of the Belgian forward, as his best often comes in the air.
Villa put in the most crosses last season, whilst the Reds produced the least in the division. In order for Benteke to truly work then both parties may have to make compromises in their style.
Liverpool fans, do you think Benteke will be a wonder singing for you? Let us know in the comments box below.
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