Liverpool have made possibly one of the signings of the summer by capturing Belgian striker Christian Benteke. Benteke cost the Reds a cool £32.5 million from Aston Villa, and will begin training with his new teammates when they return from their pre-season tour.
One of Liverpool’s main problems last season was scoring goals. When the SAS (Sturridge and Suárez) were on song all season the Red’s scored 101 goals and finished 2nd in the league. The following season, without Suárez, and Sturridge out injured for the majority of the season, the Reds finished a dismal 6th and only scored 52 goals.
In 100 appearances for Aston Villa, Benteke manged nearly a goal every two games, scoring 49 in league and cup competitions. Benteke’s consistency is questionable, his form for Aston Villa has been hot and cold. On his day Benteke is unstoppable, and if Benteke is able to maintain the form he had at the end of the 2014/15 season, he may prove to be one of the signings of the summer.
The Belgian international will add a new dimension to Liverpool’s attack. Adding pace and strength up front, Liverpool will be able to utilize the flanks more with Benteke playing as a target man, receiving more direct, vertical passes from deep, and bringing the other attackers into the game.
One question that many fans may ask is where will he fit in. With the arrival of Benteke, many of the Liverpool strikers will be working hard to lock down a position in the starting XI. Benteke’s arrival may have already pushed two and possibly three strikers out of door. Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini are the two strikers who are most likely to leave Liverpool. Both strikers have failed to have an impact in their time at the club and between them have only managed 6 goals. Norwich City are reportedly interested in Rickie Lambert, as they look to bolster their front line for the upcoming Premier League season, whilst Serie A giants Fiorentina are said to be interested in Borini.
Benteke may also force Mario Balotelli out of Liverpool. The Italian who only signed for Liverpool in the summer transfer window last year only managed 4 goals in 28 appearances. Although Rodgers has stated that Balotelli’s future at Liverpool is in his own hands, the signing of Benteke may force Balotelli out. But with Daniel Sturridge sidelined until September, a move away from Anfield seems unlikely.
Benteke’s arrival is sure to mix things up for Liverpool, and perhaps add more competition for a starting spot. No matter who leaves or who stays, the signing of Christian Benteke is a sign that Liverpool are moving in the right directions and a Champions League position may be in reach sooner rather then later.