Jamie Carragher runs rule over Liverpool signing Christian Benteke
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher questions whether Christian Benteke will suit Brendan Rodgers's preferred style of play
Jamie Carragher says Christian Benteke can be both “devastating and infuriating” after Liverpool completed a £32.5m deal to sign the striker from Aston Villa.
The Belgium international has become the Merseyside outfit’s second-most expensive signing in their history behind Andy Carroll, but some Liverpool fans haven’t reacted with the expected fanfare.
My worry at Liverpool is, will he be suited to the short, sharp and incisive passing game that Rodgers favours?
While Benteke scored 12 times in his final 13 games last season, the 24-year-old went on a run of nine games without a goal under Tim Sherwood’s predecessor Paul Lambert.
And former Liverpool defender Carragher questioned whether Benteke suited manager Brendan Rodgers’s preferred style of play.
“While we’ve been impressed by how Benteke has torn teams apart — Liverpool, against whom he scored five goals in six games, have really suffered — we also know when his touch has been poor and his lack of interest has been apparent. He can be devastating and infuriating in equal measure,” Carragher wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“The hope at Liverpool is that surrounding him with better players will see him become even more devastating and consistent. I like him as a striker and actually think he would be great for Chelsea. Jose Mourinho likes that profile of forward and sets his teams up to get the best out of them.
“My worry at Liverpool is, will he be suited to the short, sharp and incisive passing game that Rodgers favours? Brendan wants his side to play through teams, rather than getting the ball into him from wide areas, a fact Tim Sherwood pointed out as soon as Liverpool’s interest became public.”
Carragher added that Benteke shouldn’t be compared to Carroll, who proved a £35m flop after he was sold to West Ham United in 2013.
“Parallels have already been drawn with Andy Carroll and people have pointed out that Rodgers wasted no time in getting rid of him but that decision had nothing to do with the fact that Carroll was a big man. It was purely down to him lacking pace and movement.
“Those are qualities Benteke does not lack but his biggest problem at the moment, where a lot of Liverpool fans are concerned, is that they know him. He would have liked the welcome that Firmino has received, but in a few months a warm reception will count for nothing.”
Benteke scored 49 goals in 101 games for Aston Villa following his £7m move from Belgian side Genk in 2012.
The towering Belgian is Liverpool’s seventh signing of the summer following the arrivals of Danny Ings, James Milner, Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne and Roberto Firmino.