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12 Aug 2015

Carra insists: £32m 'beast' is better than 'unplayable' £140k-a-week Liverpool attacker. Agree?

Last season, Liverpool's 'strikers' collectively failed to consistently score goals for the club, and this led inexorably to a damaging failure to qualify for the Champions League. Consequently, the pressure is well and truly on new signing Christian Benteke, and Reds will be hoping that he's able to have Diego Costa-esque impact at Anfield. Like Costa, 'unplayable' Benteke is a tall, strong, striker, with recent injury issues, and a whopping £32m transfer fee, but is the Belgian in the same league as the Chelsea 'beast'? Anfield legend Jamie Carragher doesn't think so.

In a recent column for the Daily Mail, Carra claimed that none 'not one summer signing from Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City or Liverpool' is capable of making it 'into Jose Mourinho's Chelsea first XI', and added:

"Liverpool, searching for goals, have caught the eye with their business but is [Christian] Benteke at Diego Costa’s level yet? No".

Carra is arguably right here, but Costa (26) is two years older than Benteke (24), which means he's two years further along in his development.

In my view, to get a more accurate picture of how Benteke compares to Costa (in terms of historical development) it makes sense to look at how the two compare between the ages of 22 and 24.

COSTA (2010-2013)

* 38 goals/24 assists (62) in 98 apps.

* Goal/assist every 1.6 games (Goal/assist every 103 mins)

BENTEKE: (2012-2015)

* 49 goals/13 assists (62) in 101 games

* Goal/assist every 1.6 games (Goal/assist every 135 minutes).

So, between the ages of 22 and 24:

* Benteke and Costa achieved practically the same creative stats (62 goals/assists in almost the same number of games).

* Benteke scored more goals than Costa, and did so in a constantly relegation-threatened team.

* It's fair to say that Atletico are on a different level to Villa, and that Costa played alongside better players.

The stats clearly show that Benteke is at a similar level of development as Costa was at the same age (i.e. 24), and that if he keeps developing at the same rate, he's perfectly capable of reaching Costa's current level in two years (if not before).

At Liverpool, Benteke - who, according to Mirror journalist David Anderson, is on £140k-a-week at Anfield - will play alongside superior players, which theoretically increases the chances that he'll continue developing at the requisite rate.

As such, it's true to say that *right now*, Benteke isn't at Costa's level, but the Belgian is exactly where he needs to be, and if everything goes well, he will develop into one hell of a striker.

Author: Jaimie K


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