Benteke has been set aside during his time at Liverpool, spending far more time on the bench than on the field. Prior to Sunday's 2-0 win over Watford, he hadn’t started a game of any type since back in February. His only appearances in the meantime have been as a substitute, making it difficult for him to adapt to Jurgen Klopp’s mode of attack. Critics say that he’s having difficulty fitting in with Liverpool, and isn’t performing well enough to justify his high price tag.
In the meantime, other clubs, including West Ham United, have expressed interest in the star striker. So should Klopp give Benteke another chance to prove his worth? Here are five reasons to consider it.
1. He’s still a big name with an international profile
Benteke may not be a superstar in the football world, but he is still a marquee-level big name player. He’s playing for the Belgium National Team, who are tipped to do well in Euro 2016. They’re number 1 in FIFA rankings and Betsafe odds show they’re expected to best Sweden, Ireland and Italy in the first round. Playing for Liverpool, even for a short time, has also helped boost his profile. This will certainly ensure that he would have plenty of options if traded, but it also gives Liverpool an incentive to hold onto such a strong investment. After spending £32.5 million on Benteke’s transfer fee, it makes sense to wait and really see what he can do.
2. He has room to grow
He stands tall at 1.9 meters and 83 kilograms, but Christian Benteke still has plenty of room for growth. He’s only 25 years old, which means there are still many good years left for his career. If allowed to stay at Liverpool, he could benefit from learning new styles and techniques from other star players. This could help drive forward his career and make him an even more valuable player. Despite recent setbacks, he can still get back his popularity among the fans, and considered to be one of the most promising strikers in international football.
3. He has a powerful, strong style on the field.
One of the reasons that Benteke was signed in the first place was for his youthful, dynamic, and aggressive style of playing. He scored many of his 42 goals for Aston Villa by driving forward with strength and speed, running directly at defenders in a fearless fashion. Benteke’s contributions ultimately helped take Villa to the 2015 FA Cup Final, which caught Liverpool’s eye. Unfortunately he hasn’t had much of a chance to exhibit this signature style and physicality during his time with Liverpool. There’s no doubt that his recent injuries and being set aside have led to a lack of confidence, but given the chance to rebuild this lost esteem could restore Benteke and let him do what he does best.
4. He has scored goals when he’s played.
When Benteke’s been allowed to appear this season, he’s scored goals – 7 of them to date. While this may not reach the levels of performance that he exhibited during his time at Aston Villa, it shows he’s still a forward striker who can contribute to the team. Benteke admits that his confidence and ability has taken a hit from being put on the bench. According to the Liverpool Echo, he stated that “When you are not playing regularly you maybe lose a little bit of the speed or pace of the game compared to when you are playing in the side all of the time.” Yet even with this problem, he has still managed to score goals for Liverpool.
5. Liverpool may not be able to recoup the £32.5million
From a purely financial standpoint, Liverpool may lose money on their investment if they decide to axe Benteke. Although other clubs have their eye on him, it’s unlikely that any will pay a fee this high again. He simply hasn’t been able to get on a winning streak like he did with Villa.
Christian Benteke was signed by Brendan Rodgers, and with Klopp’s arrival in October it’s been obvious to fans that there was a difference in opinion. Benteke has been unable thus far to impress Klopp, despite vowing to continue fighting to prove himself. His knee injury couldn’t have come at a worse time, but if he manages to get back in the game he could turn things around. The upcoming game against Sevilla could be his big shot.
There are many reasons to give him a second chance, but in the end it comes down to whether he is a good fit for Liverpool. In the meantime, it’s clear that he’ll have plenty of other options should he be up for trade at the end of the season.