Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has spoken about Christian Benteke’s difficult season for Liverpool – suggesting that he needs to get more minutes from now until the end of the season to get himself in the Euro 2016 squad.
While his rival for the centre-forward spot Romelu Lukaku is enjoying a brilliant season with Everton, Benteke has seen himself demoted to Liverpool’s fourth choice striker behind Daniel Sturridge, Belgian teammate Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino – who’s used as a false-9 ahead of the £32.5m powerhouse.
When Danny Ings returns from injury, Benteke might drop even further down the pecking order.
“It’s difficult for him. Klopp arrived and visibly made his choice. Benteke is going to have doubts now. We’ve all gone through that. I understand that and regret it,” Wilmots said, reported in the Echo.
“He missed the World Cup because of an injury, and missing the Euros would hurt. Now, he has to work. Christian has the time to prove that he can mean something to Liverpool.”
Benteke’s situation at Liverpool has been unfortunate. He was signed for huge money on Brendan Rodgers’ judgement, but after a handful of games the Northern Irishman was fired and replaced by Jurgen Klopp – a manager who despite once trying to sign Benteke – hasn’t had any time for him.
Klopp demands his forwards run channels and press the opposition, but that style simply doesn’t suit the 25-year-old, who’s also been criticised for a lack of telling movement in the final third.
Benteke’s penalty winner against Crystal Palace was his eighth goal of the term, not awful considering he’s been restricted to 12 league starts – but it’s his overall contribution and suitability to Klopp’s team long-term which has been questioned.