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Are you happy about Benteke?


The Christian Benteke saga looks to be nearing it's conclusion after the Reds activated his release clause by agreeing to pay Aston Villa a whopping £32.5m for the big Belgian. The news hasn't been met with universal approval amongst the fans so we asked three of our contributors for their view on what will be the second most expensive signing in club history should the deal go through...

The first thing to state about this issue is that I've always believed that the club should back the manager. I felt there was clear justification to remove him at the end of the season and, despite liking and rating him, would have sent him packing once Jurgen Klopp's availability was confirmed. However, FSG have stood by their man and are therefore committed to backing him or else it's tantamount to telling him to pack his bags anyway. So in that regard, I think this is an important signing. 

In terms of the player himself, he's obviously a talent. He is very powerful, great in the air and has good touch and awareness. Best of all though is that he has a one in two record over the last three seasons for Villa. Furthermore, he utterly destroyed us at Anfield in Rodgers' first season, bullying Martin Skrtel to such an extent I literally felt embarrassed to watch. 

Unusually, I was sat in the Main Stand in line with the edge of the area that day and Benteke repeatedly turned Skrtel inside out and knocked him all over the place right in front of me. That made a strong impression that I haven't forgotten and I'm therefore not in the daft "He's rubbish" camp that has emerged amongst Reds this summer. 

However, what is concerning about this imminent signing is the way Brendan seems to base his transfer targets around performances against us as it has backfired in a number of cases of late; not least with Dejan Lovren. Raising your game against Liverpool is what you'd expect from every player in the league. We need to look at how they do against everyone else as well though. 

And in that regard, Benteke's goal record looks good: 49 in 101 over three seasons. However, there are peaks and troughs within that figure with a great first season followed by sporadic purple patches and a serious injury. That said, under Sherwood, he quite clearly began to spark once more - but the issue is why and how. 

For me, therein lies the problem. Benteke has predominantly played in a different way to how we operate. He's been asked to feed off service from the flanks and has responded well. However that is emphatically not our game and nor do I see it becoming so either as we simply don't have the players for it. 

In fact, to me this transfer smacks of further murky thinking from the manager around his system of play. Last summer we seemed to throw the blueprint out of the window and grab players unsuited to the mobile "diamond plus two" style that had taken us so close to the title. Don't get me wrong, I know there isn't a Luis Mk II out there. However, there are approximations and I think we'd be far better served going for tricky mobile types rather than a (flat track?) bully like Benteke. 

That all said, I'll suspend my disbelief and back him to the hilt. Don't be mistaken, though - this almost certainly represents Rodgers' last chance at a Red future because if he doesn't make an investment of this size count, he'll be gone quicker than you can say, "Jurgen to the rescue!"

Let's hope he can set the team up to get the lad firing then because the last thing this club needs is yet another revolution of playing and coaching staff that sees more money flushed down the drain. That's certainly what'll happen if he doesn't. 

No pressure there then, Christian! Welcome to Liverpool. 

 

Paul Natton

@OxtonSoulBoy

 
 
 
I’m on the fence. I rate Benteke very highly and on his day he’s as good as almost any striker in the Premier League. He’s been unplayable against us a few times and is a much better footballer than he’s given credit for. He’s not just a lump who scores headers and comparisons with Andy Carroll are way off beam and unfair. He’s a clever link player who likes to drop off and get involved in the build up, and he loves a sneaky back heel.
 
All that said, he also thrives on crosses and Tim Sherwood got the best out of him by getting balls into the box early from wide areas. He didn’t do it by playing wingers who get to the byline and whip crosses over, Sherwood played a midfield diamond and it was the full backs or midfielders who supplied the crosses, often from deep. We have players who can do that, but it’s not been Rodgers’ style and we cross the ball less than anybody else in the league, so will that now change? Presumably it will, otherwise what’s the point in spending so much on Benteke?
 
It’s not that he can’t be successful without that kind of service, but without it you’re not getting the maximum from the player. Why go for Benteke and have him at 75% effectiveness when you could get someone more suited to how you play and have them at 100% of their capability? It’s like signing a teenage Michael Owen and telling him he’s not allowed to run fast or telling Adam Lallana he can’t do Cruyff turns and run his fingers through his hair every ten seconds.
 
So I have some doubts about how successful this signing will be, but I’m far from being totally against it. I do like the options we now have in terms of playing either 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2 diamond. Benteke could play through the middle on his own, or in a two with Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi or Danny Ings. And if and when Sturridge returns at full capacity there’s no reason they couldn’t form an effective pairing.
 
 
I’m not at all worried that Benteke will be a complete flop because he’s too good a player for that. He’ll either be brilliant or average.
 

Dave Usher

@theliverpoolway

 

 

 

Before I even start I should say that I hope Benteke is a roaring success at Liverpool and he scores loads of goals for us. Right, now that I’ve said that I have to admit that I’m completely underwhelmed by Benteke signing for Liverpool. I won’t deny that my reasons aren’t grounded in fact or reason but then that’s part of being a football fan isn’t it?
 
First off, whatever Aston Villa are selling, I’m not buying. Nothing good ever came out of Aston Villa. The last signing we made from there was one of the worst we ever made, I still get shivers watching that player underperforming in games, flat-out disappearing when the going got tough and then don’t forget that the one time he did score, he shushed the Kop. Yes, Stewart Downing’s shadow lingers long over my thoughts on Aston Villa and Liverpool transfers.
 
Of course this is a completely unreasonable line of thinking and it’s not one that I take completely seriously (although the Downing stuff is all true, he was CRAP) but it does parlay into something else. There’s nothing attractive about signing a player from Aston Villa, they’re a dull team with dull fans who are dull to watch. Now Tactic Timmy did rectify that somewhat last season by making his defenders defend like, well, us for the latter part of the season but still, exciting players don’t come from Villa.
 
If we’re splashing north of £30 million on a player then I’d like said player to come from a big team and be a big name. Is that shallow? Absolutely but again, there’s a kernel of sense in there (no, there is) because what Benteke really lays bare is that Liverpool’s transfer policy is based on a flawed premise that it’s not the outlay on fee that matters but the wages the player is paid. Liverpool are willing to pay £30 million, that’s great, but surely we can agree that there are other players out there who would cost in the same region but who are better players and would be a better fit for our style of play. The difference between buying a big name player from a Champions League team and someone from a mid-table Premier League team is that a big name player will already be on large wages whereas someone from a mid-table Premier League team is likely to be on a lot less.
 
In the history of football transfers no player has ever moved clubs for the same wage, they’ve always had an increase. Liverpool don’t want to commit to big wages with a new signing, so they’re happy to increase Benteke’s wage from say 60k to 100k rather than buy a player who wants a raise from something like 150k to 180k. That philosophy is flawed for me as it’ll always mean that the club is compromising its player searches before they’ve even begun.
 
So I’ll finish as I started. I want nothing more than for this transfer to work out for the player and the club. I hope I’m proven wrong and that my spurious reasoning is shown up. There’s still that nagging doubt in the back of my mind that the club is repeating past mistakes, trying to buy big by identifying players by wage and not by how talented they are. I really hope I’m wrong.
 

Julian Richards

@Juleswithnoname


 


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128 Comments

No, in January he was valued between 5-10 million. Doesn't suit our play and is hardly a match winner in the form of Suarez etc

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I don't know. He is a player I really haven't watched enough to feel any kind of outrage or joy about. I think with Origi, Ings, Sturridge and Benteke we are stronger than last season upfront or at least should be. The money he has cost though he really does need to be a standout player. I'm fairly ambivalent to our signings anyway mostly for me this is all about Rodgers, this has to succeed if it doesn't it's all change anyway, the money he has spent another season of mediocrity is unacceptable.

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I don't know. He is a player I really haven't watched enough to feel any kind of outrage or joy about. I think with Origi, Ings, Sturridge and Benteke we are stronger than last season upfront or at least should be. The money he has cost though he really does need to be a standout player. I'm fairly ambivalent to our signings anyway mostly for me this is all about Rodgers, this has to succeed if it doesn't it's all change anyway, the money he has spent another season of mediocrity is unacceptable.


Agree with all that. He can't possibly be any worse than Balotelli.
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I'm happy the board are backing the manager and allowing him to sign a £32m striker. If it was up to me Benteke wouldn't be my first choice but I think he's a lot better than people are giving him credit for.

 

He can fit into our team, his goals come from a variety of situations. The reason Andy Carroll was sold by Rodgers was nothing to do with him not fitting the system and everything to do with him being nowhere near good enough.

 

Loads of times last season I heard people complain we wouldn't physical enough and now it seems someone like Benteke is too much of a 'lump'? Not having that, it's a lazy criticism and it's not even true.

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Yes, not for 32 million but yes.
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Yes although this signing will make or break the manager.

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No, in January he was valued between 5-10 million. Doesn't suit our play and is hardly a match winner in the form of Suarez etc


By who? Angry internet fans?

Season before last he was valued at £20m by Spuds and Villa said no. Since then Fellaini and Lukaku have gone for £27m. It's steep but £5m more than those two one season on with the cash flow growing from TV revenues isn't the Andy Carroll esque transfer fee many are making out.
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I don't know; haven't watched him enough. But his price tag sets the expectations accordingly. I don't want someone who can "do a job" for that price. Let's see.

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I'm happy in the sense that I was dreading another season of excuses and deflection more than anything. This transfer draws a line under that.

I'm worried that we'll repeat the mistakes of last season though, and leave him isolated, as we did with Balotelli and Lambert. The one thing apparent from his poorer games for Villa and Belgium is that if he doesn't see much of the ball he drifts out of games. Timmy kept him interested by pinging the ball at him at every opportunity; we won't.

It's all a question of balance, and in that respect I guess I'm less concerned about the player's ability, and more about the manager's to get the best out of him. If our defence is still leaking goals, the temptation will be to add another body, at the expense of someone higher up the pitch. Rodgers love an AM, and we've got an abundance. My hope is that at least with Firmino we've got someone who can operate up top as well.

In short, it's on the manager, not the player. If he's shit, there should be no deflection, no "he'll need to learn our system" or suchlike. Benteke's strengths and weaknesses are easy to see, and you don't buy a hammer to bang in screws. No excuses; for that alone, I'm happy.
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I'm glad we're looking to sign him now rather than in six weeks time.

He's a very good footballer. We'll clearly need to adjust our game to accommodate him, but any team that loses 6-1 to Stoke should already be looking at making some seismic tactical changes.

 

Moreno, Clyne, Henderson, Ibe and Milner are well capable of providing the aerial service that he'll so obviously thrive on.

 

He's no slouch on the ground either and it'll be interesting to see what he does with the very different service of Coutinho, Lallana and Firmino.

 

Not bothered about the price. It's not my money.

 

He'll score a minimum of 20 goals for us across all competitions.

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Yes, gives me something else LFC related to moan about.
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Why pay £32.5m for a player with a 1 in 2 record for a relegation threatened PL side when we could buy Johnny Foreigner with a similar record for a top side in an inferior league for more money?

 

Even someone as lazy as me can look at his goals on Youtube and discover he is so much more than a lump who feeds off crosses. And if we have to adjust our style somewhat to play to his strengths why shouldn't we?

 

There are no guarantees he (or any other signing) will be a success (however that is defined) but I am definitely in.

 

And I have a list of Forumites who have slagged him unmercifully recently which I will post if my judgement proves correct.

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Massive test now for Rodgers to get the best out of this guy.

He's not a useless Andy Carroll galoot so the question is can he fit in,  

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Style of play will be the most annoying issue about the transfer. As soon as the team is under any real pressure we will pumping aimless balls upfront for him to latch onto  bypassing our midfield.

 

There are any not many teams or players who can switch between two set ups within a game.

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I've nothing against Benteke at all,but will he fit our style of play.(whatever that is).When you think of a partner for Sturridge,a Fox in the box type seems better.So for me Hernandez seems a better bet,and he knows where the net is.I suppose it all depends on how we set up this season.
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Style of play will be the most annoying issue about the transfer. As soon as the team is under any real pressure we will pumping aimless balls upfront for him to latch onto  bypassing our midfield.

 

There are any not many teams or players who can switch between two set ups within a game.

 

I'm not sure that's a terrible idea. They're much better without the ball than with it.

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No. And we still need a left back and defensive midfielder. It doesn't look like we're going to get one either
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If he helps us compete for the league or get in the CL, he'll be worth the money. Until then, when I want to think about money relative to worth I focus on Henderson pulling down a hundred grand a week.

 

Manager seems to want him. Can he give him more than one or two Boroni Units (4.5 to 9 games) to prove himself? Can he work out a way to get him the ball?

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Numero Veinticinco
Jul 17 2015 11:13 AM
Would I have bought him? No.
Is he worth 32.5m? No
Is he the right style of player to play with Sturridge, Coutinho, Firmino, et al?
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This signing could go either way.

 

I'm more concerned about whether Rodgers can fit him into the style of play he wants or he is just another toy for him to play with and discard as we transition between twenty formations for the season. 

 

People saying that if Rodgers fucks up this year then he'll be out. Well what is 'par' now? Has he successfully lowered expectations that he'll get away with another 6th?

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I'd rather we spent the money on a DM but at least we have made a signing of intent. Maybe he is the best we can hope for in the market seeing as we don't have any champions league footy on offer. 

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I'm happy Rodgers has been given what he wants as there are no excuses to be had.

Benteke certainly has admirable attributes. Will he be effective for us? No idea. It's up to Rodgers to get the best out of him.
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I think there's a correlation between faith in Rodgers and faith in Benteke. If you don't Rodgers to buy the right players then this appears a strange fit at best. However, if like me you assume there must be a plan (surely!) then he gets the benefit of the doubt. As much as I have strong reservations about Rodgers I find it difficult to believe this isn't an informed decision. Not for the amount of time we've been linked and for the money spent. I only see this working if we play to Benteke's strengths rather than trying to change him to fit with ours. If that's the plan I reckon he could prove to be a very good signing. If!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Style of play? Bollocks. He's going to be fucking ace.

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I'm not happy with these new fancy Poll's being used. Place has gone to the dogs.
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