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Why Benteke £32.5m transfer is a huge gamble

Published on August 2, 2015

By danprice, Contributor for Soccerjury

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Liverpool endured a desparately disappointing 2014/15 season, which culminated in captain Steven Gerrard leaving the club to play in America. Despite spending £117 million on new signings last summer, the season was a disenchanting one for the Anfield club and for their departing captain.

Kop fans still point toward the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, and the ongoing injuries suffered by Daniel Sturridge that forced the England striker to miss much of last season. And meanwhile the duo of Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert failed to deliver, with the former Southampton forward recently exiting the club to West Brom after just one season.

Although Brendan Rodgers has spent a vast sum of money during his tenure at Liverpool, this has been primarily on defenders and midfielders. However, that changed this summer, with the capture of Christian Benteke from Aston Villa for £32.5 million, making him Liverpool's second highest transfer of all time.

Benteke is revealed as Liverpool player (FB)

The Belgium international joins Liverpool with a good reputation in the Premier League. During his time at Aston Villa, Benteke scored 49 goals in 101 games for the club, which is an excellent return considering Villa's struggles.

So, why is the Benteke signing still being viewed as a massive gamble for Liverpool?

Benteke battles against Martin Skrtel last season (The Daily Telegraph)

Firstly, the pressure of being the main striker at Liverpool is huge. It's a completely different environment to that of Aston Villa and Benteke will be expected to take his chances when they come, especially against big name opposition. Will the striker have the confidence and composure to cope with this pressure? The Belgian's ability to perform on the big stage is questionable, and this represents a real risk for Kop fans.

Furthermore, the style of Liverpool's play, may not suit their new striker. Benteke is a strong, powerful forward, who is now noted for his aerial ability. Tim Sherwood, Benteke's previous manager at Aston Villa, commented on how the Belgian told him that his preferred game was to feed off crosses. Sherwood duly obliged, making the big striker their target man when he took over from Paul Lambert. 

And the result? A highly commendable 11 goals in 13 matches during the latter stages of the 2014/15 season, which ultimately saved the Midland's club from relegation.

Benteke's finest game in a Villa shirt was when he scored a hat-trick in the 6-1 demolition of Sunderland last season - two of the goals were headers (PA Photos)

But will Liverpool deploy Benteke in the same way? The same way which allowed him to score those goals last season, or will he be forced to adapt to a different style of play? Liverpool fans will shake their heads, having heard these questions before, raising the spectre of their record signing Andy Caroll. He was another target man bought for a similar sum of money (£35 million), and a player who failed to adapt to Brendan Rodgers passing game.

Liverpool fans will hope that history does not repeat itself.

A similar type of striker to Benteke, Andy Carroll failed to shine at the Anfield club (Getty)

During the 2014/15 season, Liverpool recorded the lowest amount of attempted crossed from open play in the Premier League. That will need to change if Benteke's aerial ability is to be fully utilised. Rodgers may consider coaching Benteke to adapt to his style of play, but Liverpool fans will argue that for £32.5 million you should already have the finished article.

Rodgers must quickly find a system that will allow Benteke to perform at his best next season. For the Belgian's performances will not only influence Liverpool's 15/16 season, but will ultimately decide his future as their manager. 

 Benteke's performances could ultimately decide the fate of Brendan Rodgers (The Mirror)

Will the Benteke transfer prove to be an inspired gamble for the Anfield club or a costly mistake ? Premier League fans will be able to find out soon.

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All Comments (3)

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Kal Kilby

Agree Robbie. Benteke seems like a good fellow, but don't think he's going to do well.

August 12 at 7:22pm Reply | Flag

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Robbie Ackerman

I agree. A good player for a middle of the table club. Can see him struggling, although naturally wish no player bad karma.

August 10 at 11:57pm Reply | Flag

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Kal Kilby

I think Benteke is a decent player. But he's one of those players that will perform at a mid-table club but not at a club with title-winning aspirations. Sadly for Liverpool fans, I think this transfer will be a mistake.

August 2 at 9:06pm Reply | Flag

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