2 Aug 2015

Legend raves: Liverpool have signed an 'intelligent' £32m powerhouse who's 'gifted' and 'strong'

Christian Benteke finally makes his debut for Liverpool today, and Liverpool legend Gary Gillespie is convinced that the £32m striker will score lots of goals for the club.

Ahead of the Reds' pre-season friendly with Swindon Town, Gillespie outlined exactly what he expects of Benteke, and refuted suggestions that Benteke is merely a target man.

He told LFC.com:

"He [Benteke] is big and strong, and technically gifted. He takes off very good positions. Peels off the centre-backs. He’s intelligent, powerful, and strong, and he’ll do well for Liverpool, and score goals"

My only opposition to this deal is the transfer fee, and Benteke's recent injury history.

£32.5m is simply too much for Benteke, especially in light of his recent injury problems, and such a massive outlay means that the big Belgian will be under intolerable pressure to justify the fee.

However, I have no doubt that Benteke will fit-in at Anfield, and the idea that he isn't suited to Liverpool's style of play is a risible myth without any factual basis.

Fans and the media perpetuate this myth - the cornerstone of which is that Benteke needs constant crosses to thrive - but the stats show that it's nonsense:

Last Season

* Goals scored: 15 (Headed goals: 4 [36%] | Non-headed goals: 11 [74%])

Villa Total

* Goals scored: 49 (Headed goals: 13 [26%] | Non-headed goals: 36 [74%]

Strikers should utilise all their strengths, and with Benteke, he's tall and strong, so obviously he's going to score goals with his head.

That said, as the stats show, Benteke scores far more goals on the ground than he does in the air, and a well-rounded striker with his attributes arguably *should* be scoring a quarter of his goals via headers.

If Benteke - recently described by Steven Gerrard as 'unplayable' - didn't score many goals with his head, he'd be failing as a striker (IMO), and by that, I mean he'd be wasting his height and strength, which are two of his best attributes.

Thankfully, Brendan Rodgers clearly sees Benteke as much more than a mere target man. Describing the striker this week, he told reporters:

"He's not just a guy who you chuck the ball up to. He can play football...and counter-attack. He's surprised people at Liverpool with that mobility and the quickness of his feet - and his natural power and strength is there to see."

Hopefully, fans will see these qualities in action today.

Oh, and no injuries, please....

Author: Jaimie K


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