Should Liverpool sell Christian Benteke this summer?

Jurgen Klopp is expected to make many changes to the squad this summer, with many players departing and many arriving.

Should Liverpool sell Christian Benteke this summer?
Is it worth keeping 'Big Ben' around? (photo: Getty Images)

Christian Benteke signed for Liverpool last summer for £32million, making him the second most expensive player to ever sign for the Reds, behind Andy Carroll.

The signing was questioned by many fans as he seemed to be a similar player like Carroll, and his tenure at the club would be short and unsuccessful, as he ultimately wouldn't fit into 'the Liverpool way' of playing.

Many feared that the Belgium’s career at Anfield would be the same as Carroll's and therefore another big money signing going to waste.

Leading the line

Benteke was given the role as the main striker at the start of the season, during the absence of Daniel Sturridge, Rodgers preferring him to Danny Ings and Divock Origi.

He started the majority of the games and managed to bag his first Premier League goal for the Reds during his second game against Bournemouth, which led to a 1-0 win over the Cherries, but missed a golden opportunity to seal another narrow victory against Arsenal the following week, Petr Cech somehow saving from what looked like an open goal.

Benteke scored in his second league game against Bournemouth (photo: Getty Images)
Benteke scored in his second league game against Bournemouth (photo: Getty Images)

Early signs of inconsistency

It was clear fairly quickly that Liverpool’s style of play did not suit Benteke well. The Reds would not put in as many crosses that would accommodate Benteke’s style and he struggled to make runs behind defenders. 

The Belgian would only score every few games and that contributed majorly to the lack of goals the team were able to produce. The theory goes, 'if Benteke's not scoring, nobody is'. 

Falling down the pecking order as Klopp comes in

As the season went on and other players were given their opportunities, Benteke kept being pushed further and further down the line. Jürgen Klopp entered and did give Benteke chances in the team, mainly due to him being the only fit striker, but the Belgian wasted a huge amount of chances, notably one-on-one opportunities.

Benteke missed a great one-on-one chance against West Ham in the FA Cup, a game Liverpool would eventually lose (photo: Reuters)
Benteke missed a great one-on-one chance against West Ham in the FA Cup, a game Liverpool would eventually lose (photo: Reuters)

Soon Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi were preferred to lead the line rather than Benteke, who could only be summoned late on in games, for the final few minutes. Soon after that Sturridge was back to full fitness, with him, Origi and Firmino seemingly enough for Klopp.

Constant injuries didn’t help Benteke's cause, but the Reds were scoring more without him and playing more fluid football. 

When the 25-year-old was given opportunities later in the season he did manage to get some more goals to his name, such as a late equaliser agianst Chelsea, but for the amount of chances he had during games, the lack of goals was very concerning.

Should he be sold?

The Belgian has shown he can be a top quality striker during his Aston Villa days and should not be written off so early, but the fact that his playing style doesn't fit with the team's seems to be the limiting factor.

It is unlikely he’ll ever be Jurgen Klopp’s first choice striker, despite the German speaking so highly about him earlier in the season, and reportedly having been interested in him during his Borussia Dortmund days.

Despite having what seemed a poor season, the Belgian bagged nine goals during his debut season at Anfield in 29 appearances, with a large portion of them coming from the bench.

The six foot plus striker does offer the Reds a 'plan B' way of playing football if a game isn’t going their way, so is a useful player to have. However, is it worth paying his huge wages, and having the £32million asset around, if he's just going to be a bit-part player?

If he is happy being a third or fourth choice striker, he should not be sold as he can score crucial goals for the club, but if an offer came in during the summer of around £20 million plus, it probably would be hard for the club to turn down.