Jurgen Klopp played down his conversation with Christian Benteke on the St. Mary’s pitch after we fell to a 3-2 defeat to Southampton yesterday.
The striker came on for 20 minutes of Sunday’s defeat, but didn’t do his ability justice – shooting wide when one-on-one. At this point a goal would have put us 3-1 up, a likely unassailable lead – but it wasn’t to be.
The boss though claimed he wasn’t angry at Benteke for the miss, playing the altercation down as a minor issue.
“I didn’t say, ‘Why did you not use the chance?’ No, no, no,” Klopp told the BBC after the game.
“Sometimes we have to talk with players. That’s my job. They’re going with their national teams and I don’t want to make phone calls so I just had a few words – that’s ok. Nothing else.”
Although Benteke is going away with Belgium, we’re sure Klopp could have spoke with him in the dressing room instead.
This won’t do the striker’s already low confidence much good, although we can understand the manager’s frustration. Benteke clearly disobeyed instructions, and we looked a worse attacking outfit when he entered the fray.
Ben Smith of the BBC claimed after the game that the 25-year-old will be put up for sale this summer, which for both parties, probably seems the best option.
Benteke’s career is faltering with us, failing to come to terms with an outrageous £32.5m price-tag and struggling to adapt to a new manager’s style.
He’s a good footballer, but he’s perhaps not right for Klopp’s Liverpool.
We should try and maximise his potential sell-on value and move him on.