Liverpool supporter shares views on Crystal Palace new man Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke | Crystal Palace FC

Christian Benteke completed his move from Liverpool to Crystal Palace on Saturday, finally ending a summer-long saga.

The Eagles had been trying to capture their number-one target throughout the duration of the transfer window. However, the Reds held firm and refused to allow their unwanted man to go for any less than the £32.5 million that they paid Aston Villa for his services just twelve months ago. 

Palace had a bid rejected earlier in the week, which was £22 million plus some rather comical add-ons, including £2.5 million if the South London club qualify for the Champions League.

Although Palace were desperate to get their man. A final bid went in on Wendesday - an initial £27 million - and was accepted by Liverpool on Thursday. Just two days later, Benteke was holding up a red and blue shirt at the Eagles' Beckenham training ground - despite a rather hilarious miscalculation in which Benteke's social media manager told us that he had signed for Burnley

To assess the deal, VAVEL UK's Crystal Palace editor, Sam Smith, fired a few questions at fellow VAVEL UK editor and Liverpool fan, Ollie Emmerson.

Firstly, Liverpool's signing of Benteke for £32.5 million from Aston Villa last Summer raised a few eyebrows. What were your initial thoughts when it happened?

In truth, my first thoughts were relief. Not because we were signing a player that I wanted us to, but because it had taken an age for the deal to go through - similarly to what has happened with Benteke and Palace this summer. On the thoughts of the signing, I wasn't a fan from the start. Already sceptical after Brendan Rodgers' horrific overseeing of the 2014/15 season, I had no faith in his transfer dealings that summer, especially when it emerged that the Ulsterman only sanctioned the Roberto Firmino deal on the basis that he could get Benteke. Look at how that one worked out! Benteke didn't seem like an obvious fit, and it looked like Liverpool were again being too negative in their transfer dealings, overpaying for players from lower-mid table teams. 

Benteke's Liverpool career just seemed like a downward spiral right from the very beginning - almost as if people had made their minds up on him before giving him a real chance. What do you think went wrong for him at Anfield?

He was never a fit from the start, in all honesty. Look at Liverpool's successful strikers over the last 20 years (and there have been many). Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres. None were/are big powerful bruisers, and there were fears from the start that Benteke would be more of an Andy Carroll. He didn't fit Rodgers' style, or the players around him, at the start of the season. Benteke needs wingers, so playing with the likes of Philippe Coutinho and the aforementioned Firmino was never going to work. Things worsened when Jurgen Klopp came in, as Rodgers changed his style to suit Benteke more, but Klopp was never going to change his for Benteke. The Belgian's situation became even worse due to the emergence of Divock Origi, and Firmino's use as a false nine, leaving him right down the pecking order due to his lack of a pressing game. 

Benteke's struggled on Merseyside and Ollie puts this down to him not fitting the mould of the typical Liverpool front man | Photo: Nick Potts / PA
Benteke's struggled on Merseyside and Ollie puts this down to him not fitting the mould of the typical Liverpool front man | Photo: Nick Potts / PA

It seemed Klopp was intent on seeing him leave, making this evidently clear when he was the only player in the match day squad to not feature against Barcelona in a friendly. Would you have liked to see him stay for another season and get one last chance to prove his worth or was it the right time to cash in and for him to move on?

There are arguments for Benteke's use as a 'Plan B', but given Liverpool's striking options, it doesn't hold up. Play Sturridge against teams that drop deep so you can use his talents at stretching opposition, use Firmino when you need an excellent presser away against the top teams, and then Origi balances between those two roles. Add Danny Ings into the equation, and there's barely any need for Benteke in the match-day squad. I feel that for him personally it was the right decision to move on, he's not likely a top four player, and that's where Liverpool want to be. The money is about right, given inflation over the last year, the Reds would have likely had to spend over £35million for him were they signing him from Aston Villa this summer, so they've probably lost a little despite getting near to the original payment back, but given his performances that's only fair.

Do you think he will suit Palace's more direct style to the high-energy style of Klopp's Liverpool?

Without doubt. Watching Benteke play at Villa, despite not possessing great speed, he excelled playing on the counter-attack in a team that was prepared to sit deep and then counter bravely on the wings. With the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Bakary Sako and Andros Townsend aiding him, he'll be much better for Palace than Liverpool. However, I would be careful with expectations regarding his output. Whilst Liverpool's style was the main problem for him on L4, it must be remembered that he has lost a yard or two since the ACL injury, and isn't such a brutal goalscorer as the Benteke of two or three years ago.

Ultimately, do you see him making a significant impact at Selhurst Park?

I really do. In a summer of big money signings in the Premier League, Palace have been quiet before finally getting their man, something I believe is worthwhile. This is because, in all honesty, Palace have been poor over the last year. The run to the FA Cup final was met by a horrific second half to the season, which at one point looked like it could see them face the drop. Goals win games, and Benteke is the man to get those goals to pull you back into mid table security, comfortably so. However, if your aims are bigger, he may not be the man to fire you into European football.

We would like to thank Ollie for answering our questions.