Christian Benteke has come under fire from sections of the Liverpool support in recent weeks.
It’s not that he’s playing particularly badly, it just seems that he is really struggling to get to grips with Klopp’s gegenpressing tactics.
Despite that, he scored crucial winners in 1-0 victories against both Leicester and Sunderland over Christmas and he led the team out as our captain in our 2-2 draw with Exeter on the south coast two weeks ago.
Even though we splashed out in excess of £30 million on him in the summer and he is our leading scorer across all competitions, question marks have been raised over whether Klopp fancies him as a long-term Liverpool player.
Now the German has moved to dismiss those suggestions.
“Of course he has a future, that is not a question,” said Klopp. “You are too quick in your judgements. If I would work like this I would send players who miss chances to the next club or whatever. Stay cool.” (via Echo)
“What we have to do is think what team fits together for the special game. For the next game it could be different. We have to think about how we create chances. First of all we cannot hope that we can get the ball into the box and then maybe Christian will finish it.”
“He is a goalscorer and makes chances and so on, that is all good.”
Jurgen even said he tried to sign him while at Dortmund:
“I met him, plus his agent at Dusseldorf airport,” said the boss. “We saw a lot of games he played in, saving the ball, technical skills, of course the heading but not only that, finishing skills, all this stuff. From all those things he is a complete striker, but at the end you have to work for it.”
(Are there any of our current players he didn’t look at while he was Dortmund manager?!)
The big Belgian will presumably keep his place for tomorrow night’s replay, and might even lead the side out for the second time.
If we play someone like Joe Allen in the midfield for a bit of experience and know-how, there is every chance Benteke could grab himself two or three goals – something that would do his seemingly fragile confidence the world of good.