It may be a big gamble, but Liverpool realise that they need to role the dice with Christian Benteke

Liverpool are reported to have stepped up their pursuit of Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke.

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke may be edging closer to making a move to Liverpool, with reports in the Daily Mail suggesting that the Reds are willing to meet the £32.5 million release clause in the Belgian's contract.

If things go smoothly, he will become the Reds’ seventh signing of the summer as Brendan Rodgers looks to address a problem in front of goal which held his side back last season. Let's remember that Benteke scored more goals than all of Liverpool’s other forward options last season.

That shows you just how much Liverpool needed to invest in the transfer market.

Yes, the fee is pretty eye-watering. Only Andy Carroll has cost the Reds more at £35 million – price reported by the BBC - but paying £32.5 million is an indictment of the transfer market that operates in football today [and the comparisons with the former Reds' number nine are pretty mundane, Benteke can run in behind defences]. Is the Belgian worth two-thirds of Raheem Sterling? Possibly, but only time will tell just how effective he will be for the Reds.

Liverpool were in a position here where they needed a forward who could score goals against good teams in the Premier League. I've lost count of the amount of times he has bullied Liverpool all over the show, including in last season's FA Cup semi-final and during an impressive individual display at Anfield in December 2012. If anyone thinks he is a big lump up front who isn't mobile, then they need to watch those two performances in particular. The Reds' system may need a little tweaking, but this is a player that can be used to good effect in the current side.

As it stands, Liverpool could set up in a diamond formation, with the option of it being two up top, or one man playing just behind the main striker depending on the scenario.

Then there are the options currently available at the club. Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge are two very different strikers, it seems. Ings likes to do a lot of pressing, Sturridge is good at playing off the shoulder of the forward, while Divock Origi is still very young and has a lot of learning to do, though could probably be a combination of Benteke and Sturridge if he wanted to - apart from the injuries, of course.

Finally, let's look at Benteke's goalscoring record - 49 goals from 101 appearances for Villa. Cast your mind back a couple of years and there was an element of 'why are we signing Daniel Sturridge?' among Liverpool fans. At the start of last season, Reds fans far and wide were bemoaning the fact they couldn't get a man with such an impressive goalscoring record who wasn't fit for the opening stages of the season. You all know who that player was.

Who says these concerns and fumes will be quietened when they actually see him action. It certainly wouldn't be the first time.

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