Is this the first indication that Jurgen Klopp agrees with many Liverpool fans that Christian Benteke, despite his monster price-tag, is not suited to his style of football?
The Belgian powerhouse hasn’t scored in three and has only bagged once in seven – leading to some criticism from supporters who want to see more from the £32.5m forward.
“The situation is if as a striker you feel not confident in the game because you don’t get enough crosses, you have to move more,” Klopp explained in his pre-Watford press conference, via the Echo.
“You have to feel first that it doesn’t work like this.
“There’s a difference between the way we play and the way Aston Villa played.
“He had this long injury period, so it’s not possible to be at 100 percent.
“We don’t have too many strikers, but we can decide between [them].
“As a striker you want to have five, six games in a row. At Aston Villa when he was fit he played, and here everything is different,” Klopp added.
We’re not exactly sure Benteke’s injury can be an excuse anymore. He’s been available since October, and it’s almost Christmas now.
With Daniel Sturridge perpetually crocked, getting Benteke firing is crucial, but he’s so far failed to adapt to the quick, pressing style of football Klopp wants to play.
The manager is right that the striker is getting less crosses than he did perhaps at Aston Villa, but that was an inevitability. Thankfully, Klopp intimates that he thinks he can improve Benteke and that Liverpool fans will eventually see a better player than Villa supporters ever did.
“I have time to work, he made very good games for us, very good goals for us,” he continued.
“I’m not sure anybody at Aston Villa saw the best Christian Benteke
“He’s young enough to develop, and that’s what we’ll do.”
It’s not certain whether Benteke will start up top away to Watford on Sunday, with it quite possible Klopp will select Divock Origi following his recent heroics or go with Roberto Firmino as a false-9.
Either way, this is a clear sign from the boss that he expects more from Liverpool’s second most expensive ever player.