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Benteke – The Missing Link For Liverpool Title Challenge?

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The dust has now settled; Christian Benteke has joined Liverpool for £32.5 million after weeks of rumours and negotiations, but the transfer has divided opinion from fans. Is this now the transfer that turns Liverpool into genuine title challengers?

The player himself has a proven goal scoring record in the Premier League with Aston Villa since he joined the club from Belgian club Genk in 2012. Benteke played 88 times for the Midlands club, scoring 42 times. In his entire club career, he has played 205 times, scoring 86 times; a goal every 2.4 matches. He has also featured 24 times for his country Belgium, scoring seven times.

The attributes as I see it is the player has a big powerful presence, is still young at 24 years of age, strong in the air, can hold the ball up well for a man who is six foot three, he has a decent turn of pace, and can turn defenders around and stretch the play centrally, and he can certainly finish and score a number of types of goals.

His weaknesses as I see it is that he has picked up a few injuries, including a serious knee injury recently. Also, he stays very central when he is not in possession, rarely going into the channels between centre back and full backs and from the times I have seen him, I do not see him as the dynamic sharp striker, which maybe is the best type of centre forward that Liverpool may need. Playing on the shoulder with a burst of space over a short distance, with Coutinho and Firminho supplying sharp swift short passes, which could require one touch and finish. Is Benteke this player? We will soon find out.

Going back to the question, is he the missing link to mount a serious challenge? In my view, no. I think Liverpool are still short when you compare them to Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United, who I still think, in terms of quality, are way ahead of them.

Liverpool will be exciting to watch and at home I see them scoring plenty of goals, with Benteke, Sturridge and Origi in their ranks, being supplied by players of the technical ability of Coutinho, Firminho (who I think will be a star in the Premier League), Lallana and Ibe.

What worries me about Liverpool is stopping other teams scoring. They have great attacking flair, but that back four needs protection, as was proved last year. They have brought in a good right back in Nathaniel Clyne, but the two first choice centre backs are the same, as is their left back. If Skrtel and Sakho get injured or lose form, then the replacement would be Lovren or Toure, or even an 18 year old player unproven at this level in Joe Gomez. Even the left back Moreno has shown flaws.

In terms of their potential midfield, which I think will be Emre Can, Henderson and Milner, they have q solid foundation. But I do have concerns over the defensive side of their work. All three players strengths are in the final third, so putting all this together I can see further defensive frailties.

In conclusion, my answer to ‘is Benteke the missing link to a serious title challenge’, then no not for me. The club have too many other weaknesses that they need to address before they can consider competing amongst the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and both Manchester sires.

In terms of Benteke, I am not even convinced he will be first choice striker when Daniel Sturridge is fit, whenever that is. I can see Liverpool playing the one striker up top supported by two players just behind, so it will be interesting to see how that pans out.



Thoughts/Comments? Over to you.

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