Jürgen Klopp wary of former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke ahead of Crystal Palace visit

With another crucial fixture in Liverpool’s pursuit of a top-four finish, Jürgen Klopp is wary of former Red Christian Benteke as he returns to Anfield for the first time since his £32 million move to Crystal Palace last summer.

Sunday's clash leaves Klopp’s side hosting the Eagles looking to extend a seven-match unbeaten run in the Premier League. A win would keep them third with four games remaining.

Benteke, who was signed by Brendan Rodgers for the Reds back in July 2015, has scored 14 times for Palace this season after failing to impress Klopp in his only season at Anfield last term.

But the Liverpool manager is very much aware of the dangers his former striker possesses, citing him as one Sam Allardyce's star men.

Reds boss aware of Benteke threat

"When the ball is in the air, he is the major and main threat," Klopp said in his pre-match press conference.

"He has scored 13 or 14 goals for Crystal Palace now. He is obviously another player with confidence, in a good run and all that stuff."

The Belgian's rejuvenated form sees him travel back to Merseyside with his side winning five of their previous seven, including a surprise victory at Stamford Bridge against league leaders Chelsea and a thrilling 3-0 home victory over Arsenal.

Liverpool have also had to dig deep and grind out two crucial wins, a battling second-half performance securing a 2-1 victory at Stoke City before a cagey affair with West Bromwich Albion saw the Reds scrape a 1-0 win in a defensive and diligent performance from Klopp’s side.

However, Palace have proved to have been a bit of a bogey side for the Reds with the South London side taking maximum points from their last two Anfield encounters.

Anfield affair leaves Palace without Reds loanee Mamadou Sakho

This weekend's meeting also sees defender Mamadou Sakho return to Liverpool after moving to Palace on loan in January.

The French international is out of the action against his parent club after shining in recent performances, helping Allardyce’s side move seven points clear of the drop zone with four clean sheets in six games.

The 27-year-old has not played for Liverpool since a 4-0 Merseyside Derby victory against Everton in April 2016, with off-field controversies leading to a fall-out between Sakho and Klopp.

His absence could be a huge blow for the Londoners with Klopp looking to capitalise on his absence.

"Mama is a very good defender, especially when you really defend deep," Klopp continued.

He noted that Sakho has played "five, six, seven games or something" at Palace and explained: "Having him not involved of course is not the best news for Crystal Palace, but that’s how it is."

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