Liverpool transfers: 8 things you need to know about Christian Benteke
Eight things Liverpool fans need to know about Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke ahead of Anfield move
1) 16 goals last season (13 after 1 March)
The big Belgian forward had somewhat of a renaissance under the leadership of Tim Sherwood at Villa Park last season. With 11 goals in total during the 2013/14 season, Benteke had seemingly faded out after what was a powerful, prolific first season at the club. But he managed 16 goals for both club and country last season – with an astonishing 13 coming after the beginning of March, just a few short weeks after the ex-Spurs manager joined the club.
2) 42 goals in 89 Premier League games
Benteke has managed 42 goals in 89 Premier League appearances, a record of one goal in just over every second match. With a strike rate that prolific, Liverpool will be relishing bringing in a forward with a more clinical touch than Mario Balotelli. But they will still need to create the chances to tuck away, and with playmakers Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez both departing the club in recent seasons, the Reds will still need to find a side that compliments Benteke’s strengths.
3) 25 wins from 89 appearances
Villa most certainly benefitted from the forward’s presence than when he was not available. With 25 wins in his 89 appearances, the Belgian may not boast the most prolific win rate, however Villa have managed just five wins over the past three seasons without Benteke in the side – an ominous statistic which may prove telling for the Villains come next season.
4) 52% right-footed goals – Sturridge partnership should bring balance
And with 52% of his Premier League goals scored with his right foot, it is clear that perhaps Benteke doesn’t quite have the all-round ability that Suarez and Sterling brought to the table. The target man does, however, have a tendency to spread out his strikes – with only two hat-tricks in the league to his name, alongside six braces. Comparatively, Daniel Sturridge has one hat-trick alongside three braces – with 63% of goals on his left foot.
5) Missed the World Cup through serious injury
The imposing centre-forward actually missed out on the Brazil World Cup in 2014 after he ruptured his Achilles tendon for Aston Villa in the 2013/14 season. The 24-year-old had to miss out on the major tournament, however assuming all goes well with his club playing career, Benteke should be at his peak by the 2018 tournament in Russia and provide quite a spectacle to behold.
6) 69% of Premier League goals come from central (in the penalty box positions)
A rather astonishing figure, but Benteke appears to be a relatively unbalanced player, with 69% of his strikes – including 14% as penalties – coming from a central area inside the penalty box. Whilst not a particularly alarming fact, it seems that the Reds will need to find another player to grab goals from outside the box, with Benteke specialising in his role as a poacher.
7) 31 key passes last season, only 2 assists
Interestingly, over the 2014/15 season for Aston Villa, Benteke manager to play 31 key passes for the claret and blue side, but provided merely two assists. In contrast, Raheem Sterling, who played in a forward role for the Anfield side provided 68 key passes and seven assists. Benteke would still provide a considerable improvement on Mario Balotelli, however, with only seven key passes and no assists for the season.
8) Shot accuracy 45% last season, comparatively Sturridge 44% and Sterling 53%
Finishing on a positive, however, Benteke’s statistics suggest that the forward would be at home at Anfield. At Villa last season, the Belgian had a shot accuracy of 45%, which was up there with the other top-class Liverpool forwards. Daniel Sturridge only managed 44% despite his limited matches last season, whilst Raheem Sterling – Liverpool’s main forward – finished with 53%.