15 May 2016

Anfield Boost: 'Terrific' £20m striker confirms he wants to play for Liverpool 'next year'

Liverpool striker Christian Benteke is seemingly on the outs at Anfield, but despite his marginalisation by Jurgen Klopp, the £32m striker is determined to stay at Anfield and fight for his place.

When asked today about his future, Benteke insisted that he wants to 'stay' and play for Liverpool 'next year', and insisted that he's good enough to make a difference at the club. He told the Liverpool Echo:

"I didn't sign for one year. I have the quality and the manager knows my strengths and weaknesses/ I know I've had a tough season but I'm going to fight until the end. I try to do my best when the manager needs me."

Benteke is constantly denigrated by Liverpool fans, but he still has the third-best best goals/assists per minute average in the entire squad:

* Sturridge: G/A every 115 mins

* Origi: G/A every 128 mins.

* Benteke: G/A every 131 mins.

* Firminho: G/A every 148 mins.

* Coutinho: G/A every 173 mins.

Additionally, Benteke has achieved this despite:

* Two separate injuries this season (13 games missed)

* The upheaval of managerial change just 8 games into his Liverpool career.

* Being a sub, subbed off, or an unused sub in 73% of games.

* Just TWO league start since January 2nd.

* Little confidence from Klopp, who has made it clear (via his marginalising approach) that he has little faith in Benteke.

Quite how a striker is supposed to thrive under these conditions is anyone's guess, but Benteke - reportedly the subject of a £20m bid from Juventus - has still made a decent contribution despite (arguably) being set-up to fail by Klopp.

As a comparison: Firmino averages a league goal every 207 minutes (worse than Benteke), and for goals/assists combined, it's one every 109 minutes. Unlike Benteke, however, Firmino gets regular game time, and benefits from the confidence of the manager.

If Benteke^ can score/create a goal every 132 minutes in a demotivated, marginalised state, just imagine what he can do if he's motivated, encouraged, and given regular game time. If nothing else, he clearly has the right attitude to succeed, and that is half the battle.

^ Described by Steven Gerrard as a 'terrific talent'.


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