Benteke: Do Liverpool stick or bust…?
There have been a lot of news reports with Benteke leaving Anfield this summer, the latest destination is Crystal Palace, according to the BBC they have tabled a bid worth £25m. Benteke has claimed he wanted to stay and fight for his place, however since the arrival of Mane it appears that he has changed his mind, realising he is potentially 5th choice behind; Sturridge, Origi, Ings and Firmino.
The question is; Do Liverpool stick or bust…?
Looking at the stats you can really see why Liverpool went after Benteke.
His best season was in 2012/13, where he scored 19 goals from 34 appearances. With a high pass accuracy % he was instrumental in the attack. Hardly surprising Villa’s play was built around his strengths. His aerial ability, height and power are the main parts of his game, making him the perfect target man for crosses, you could say he’s almost a perfect no. To get the best out of him his team have to use the wing. This allows him to move in and around the box to receive the ball either with his head or holding it up waiting for support.
Why hasn’t he been a success at Liverpool?
Last season, whilst he has scored 10 goals out of 29 games he hasn’t given the return that you’d have expected. Liverpool’s style is playing through the middle. Klopp likes his players to recycle ball quickly, converting defence into attack very quickly.
Benteke’s forward runs are seen as one of his weaknesses. He is either slow to react or slow to move into position, it’s as if he isn’t in sync with his teammates. That part is something that could be worked on over time with Klopp on the training ground. But i’m sure at his stage of his career he’ll find it difficult to improve or change his style of play compared to a younger Origi who is young enough to be moulded. He isn’t suited to the pressing style of play, defensively his is often found out of position. Klopp needs his players to react to changes in play with speed, acknowledging the margins of error are so very small. We are in fact closer than you think to getting it right. I’m just not sure he trusts Benteke to spearhead or lead this Ethos of play.
Do Liverpool have a Plan B?
At times last season it didn’t feel like we did. Yes, depending on who the opposition were depended on who Klopp selected.
Whilst Sturridge was injured he tended to go with Firmino up front. Who just gets it….his pressing is at times reminiscent to Suarez.
Leading from the attack and pressing, hounding and hunting for the ball. His downsides are he isn’t as potent in attack as Sturridge.
When the plan wouldn’t work, a 2nd striker would be introduced, which would open up additional attacking options, but for a well drilled defence it was more of the same.
An introduction of a classic no.9 would help….? Someone who could batter the defenders. This would only work with crosses coming in from wide positions, something last season we couldn’t offer, but with Mane now we can. Having width would give the opposing fullbacks something new to think about. This could potentially pin them back giving creative players such as Coutinho or Firmino more space.
Does Klopp want an alternative solution?
He may do. If your ‘break glass in case of emergency’ striker is worth £30m and earns in excess of £140k per week it’s quite an expensive bench warmer. Surely a cheaper alternative is better sought…?
The overall decision is down to Klopp. With no European football Klopp will have more time with his players each week. More time to drill into them what he wants, expects, styles of play and ways to get the desired result. Last season Liverpool had a game every 4 days….so no time to do any of this. If it works, to the point where everyone is available and they know what to do….then surely a Plan B isn’t needed…? Arrogance…? Potentially, self belief is what’s needed to win those games. Klopp has this in abundance, this flows over to the players…..Plan B – nah….!
We wait and see what happens.
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