REUTERS – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has dispelled doubts about Christian Benteke’s suitability to the team’s high-pressing style of play and said the striker has a long-term future at Anfield.
Benteke, who joined from Aston Villa for a reported 32.5 million pounds ($45.97 million) during the close season, has scored seven goals in 24 appearances this season.
Despite being the club’s leading goalscorer, the Belgium international has struggled to nail down a regular starting place since Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers at the Merseyside club in October.
“Of course he has a future, that is not a question. He is a goalscorer and makes chances and so on, that is all good,” Klopp told the British media.
“This is how it works, we make a starting line-up and it ends at 11 then we make the bench. That is how we did it in the past, now we will do it in the future. He has always the possibility to play.
“For the next game it could be different. We have to think about how we create chances. First of all we cannot hope that we can get the ball into the box and then maybe Christian will finish it.”
Klopp hailed Benteke as the “complete striker” and said having the 25-year-old on the bench is a sign of the quality available within the squad.
“He is a complete striker, but you have to work for it. He hasn’t finished his development (with us) and we as a team haven’t either. You have to look at how (different styles) fit,” the former Borussia Dortmund manager said.
“To have Christian on the bench is a quality sign.”
Liverpool host fourth tier side Exeter City in the third round FA Cup replay later on Wednesday, after the 2-2 draw earlier this month.
($1 = 0.7070 pounds)
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)