Christian Benteke's penalty v Crystal Palace could be a turning point in his career

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Christian Benteke has endured a far-from-smooth start to his Liverpool career.

After finding the net so consistently for former employers Aston Villa, the Belgian has struggled for minutes and form on Merseyside, so much so that he has failed to make the Reds' matchday squad on a number of occasions.

A January move was widely touted, but Benteke stood firm and stayed put in a bid to prove his £32 million transfer a success.


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However, the fact 20-year-old Divock Origi was selected to lead the line against Crystal Palace on Sunday suggested the striker's prospects haven't improved, nor were they due to.

Against Alan Pardew's Eagles, who they have struggled to overcome in recent years, Liverpool were extremely poor for the first hour and barely registered a shot.

And when Joel Ledley opened the scoring just after half-time, followed by James Milner's 62nd-minute dismissal, it seemed the Reds were edging towards yet another disappointing afternoon.

Ten minutes after Milner's red card and Roberto Firmino handed Liverpool a lifeline, however, following a dreadful error from Palace goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.

Benteke then came on for Origi with some ten minutes remaining and immediately had a chance to give his side an unlikely lead, but his tame shot was saved.

The Belgium international didn't drop his head, though, and soon after played a part in some impressive build-up play as the visitors finished the stronger out of the two.

His moment came deep into injury time when carrying the ball into the penalty area, as he was brought down by Damien Delaney. A penalty was duly awarded somewhat contentiously, but Benteke had his chance to claim all three points.

The 25-year-old strode confidently towards the ball and coolly dispatched it to McCarthy's left, the English 'keeper fooled by Benteke's stutter.

Cue hysteria amongst Liverpool's players and travelling fans, with their Belgian striker leading the celebrations. A controversial decision it might have been, but the confidence Benteke would have taken from that penalty could be significant.

It takes a lot of courage to take a penalty, more so when its outcome could decide the game. It was the former Villa man's first league goal since December, but perhaps most importantly, his fourth goal to have won Liverpool all three points this season following strikes against Bournemouth, Leicester City and Sunderland.

Whilst fellow much-maligned players like Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno and Simon Mignolet performed well, Benteke's 15-minute cameo was telling.

Liverpool will only hope it signalled a turning point in their striker's career on Merseyside.

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