Stats: Will Benteke be the difference in Aston Villa vs Liverpool?

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers wary of Benteke's villainous threat.

Burgeoning striker Christian Benteke, 22, was one of the signings of the summer.

While the powerful Belgium international has not swapped clubs, the manner in which Aston Villa were able to not only hold on to the fast and brutish athlete but secure his signature for a further four years was one of the shocks of the current transfer market, especially when the £25m-rated forward handed in a transfer request a matter of months ago.

At that time, the top brass at Villa, together with the club's fans, may have accepted that the in-form goal-getter may be switching allegiances to one of Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and even Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan or Atletico Madrid.

If Luis Suarez had been sold by Liverpool prior to Benteke's contract extension was made official in July, then Brendan Rodgers, too, may have fancied a punt on the cultured Zaire-born player.

Instead, he will be assessing how Benteke's threat can best be nullified by his defenders as Rodgers' Reds take on Paul Lambert's Villans in the Midlands on Saturday, August 24.

'There's no doubt Benteke is the reference point for the team - the ball goes up to him and he holds it up well,' noted Rodgers in yesterday's meeting with the media. 'He's a big, powerful boy,' he added.

'They are very much a counterattacking team that set up to defend half a pitch and then break out with the pace of Benteke, [Gabriel] Agbonlahor in particular and young Andreas Weimann on the side.'

Benteke is one of the most in-form danger men in the Premier League, despite the competition being just two matches young (one for some).

In those 180 minutes of action - of which Benteke has participated in every second - the player has won 53% of tussles when the ball is on the deck and 58% of battles when the ball is airborne. Both statistics are testament to the player's natural physicality and height (6'3).

Of his five shot total in the two games so far, three have resulted in goals (one from a header, one from his right foot and one from his left).

This not only demonstrates his clinical nature in scoring once every 60 minutes he is on the pitch, but also his accuracy (60% of his shots are converted into goals), and also the variety of his success... he has been equally as dangerous with all of the tools he can use to score a legitimate goal. Only one of his attempted shots, meanwhile, has missed the target.

Will Benteke make it three games in a row, or will Rodgers be able to mastermind tactics that deny the big man service? Tell us in the comment section below.

image: © edrost88

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