Christian Benteke: I wouldn’t have joined Liverpool if I wasn’t ‘priority’ striker

Out-of-favour striker Christian Benteke says he would never have joined Liverpool if he felt he was not going to be a “priority”.

Christian Benteke: I wouldn’t have joined Liverpool if I wasn’t ‘priority’ striker

The €41m summer signing feels he has suffered from the Reds’ decision to sack Brendan Rodgers in October and bring in Jurgen Klopp.

Rodgers made the Belgium international his number one summer transfer target, persuading the club’s transfer committee to go well beyond their valuation of the player, to add a different dimension to the team.

Benteke started the first six Premier League matches of the season but then picked up an injury and by the time he was fit again Rodgers had been replaced.

He struggled to retain a regular place and since the turn of the year he has managed just five starts in 16 appearances, scoring just once, as Klopp has preferred a fit-again Daniel Sturridge and Benteke’s compatriot Divock Origi.

“I was obviously happy (with the move to Liverpool), I joined a great club,” Benteke said.

“I thought that finally I could find stability, settle for a duration at a big club. I knew I could face difficult months but, in the long run, it would work.

“I played two full matches in a row since Klopp (arrived). I went up against Leicester, I scored, I followed up with a game and a goal against Sunderland and then we lost to West Ham and since then I have been discarded.

“I spoke with (Belgium team-mates) Eden (Hazard) and with Marouane (Fellaini), they all gave me the same answer: when a coach does not count on you, you cannot change anything.

“The thing that is annoying is that I had prepared to transfer to Liverpool. I never would have signed if I had not been the priority of the coach.”

Benteke has scored just eight goals in 35 appearances with his only goal in 2016 coming from the penalty spot.

His apparent unsuitability for Klopp’s intensive, high-pressing tactics has been debated for some time but the player rejects claims he can’t fit in.

“Despite the situation I am in, I am second top scorer behind (Roberto) Firmino, with eight goals: this is not so bad although I would have hoped to score more,” he said.

“I knew that the new coach might have a different opinion on me and that’s what happened. He (Klopp) told me he wanted me to be more involved in the game and yet it seems to me that this is one of my qualities.”

  • Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger could miss the rest of the season after suffering knee ligament damage in Germany training. The 31-year-old only returned to action for United in March having spent nearly two months on the sidelines with a knee problem. The German FA confirmed he has suffered a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament. Depending on the damage, Schweinsteiger could also be miss this summer’s European Championships.

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