Liverpool beat Exeter 3-0 to progress into the Fourth Round of the FA Cup at Anfield last night with Jurgen Klopp fielding another young team.
Goals from Joe Allen, Sheyi Ojo and Joao Carlos Teixeira saw the Reds ease past Exeter at the second attempt after recording a 2-2 draw at St James Park 12 days ago.
Simon Mignolet, Joe Allen, Jose Enrique and Christian Benteke were the only experienced players selected for the tie and the stage seemed to be set for Benteke to show everyone what he can do after being on the end of so much criticism recently and struggling feature in Klopp’s attack despite being the only fit striker available.
But it was another frustrating night for the Belgium international striker as he failed to score after spurning some good chances.
And former Reds’ striker Michael Owen was highly critical of Benteke throughout the game against Exeter as he summarised for BT Sport who were covering the game.
Owen hardly spoke about anyone else, he was so critical of Benteke. Owen like most Liverpool supporters have been expecting a lot more from the big striker since his £32million move from Aston Villa last summer.
But in fairness to Benteke, he worked hard against Exeter and tried to make himself available but his confidence is obviously lacking as he missed some good chances, especially in the first half, when Smith and Ibe provided him with some inviting crosses that you would expect him to do better with.
Liverpool don’t look as dangerous or as much of an attacking threat with Benteke playing up front and Klopp must feel the same because he’s left him on the bench for recent league games, preferring to play players with more movement instead.
Klopp has selected Firmino playing as a false number nine with the likes of Ibe, Lallana and Coutinho supporting and they have looked far more dangerous playing together than the static Benteke playing up top.
The impressive wins over Manchester City and Southampton were great examples of Liverpool’s attacking flair without Benteke.
Like most people I have been disappointed with Benteke, and I don’t think he works hard enough or takes up good positions in the box, but although he hasn’t been playing well, he must be given time at Liverpool.
Moving to a new team can be difficult and Liverpool are not playing to his strengths because they are not a team that puts many crosses into the box.
We just need to give Benteke a chance because he is a proven goalscorer in the Premier League and it would be nice if he could shut Michael Owen up.
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