Danny Higginbotham: Christian Benteke is pivotal in Stoke vs Liverpool

The retired former Potter has stated that the Belgian powerhouse is the most important Reds summer signing.

Former Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham has warned his ex-employers that Christian Benteke will be Liverpool’s main threat as the teams meet this weekend, as per The Independent.

The Potters destroyed the Reds 6-1 on the final day of last season, but it is widely expected to be a tight affair at the Britannia Stadium this time round.

Higginbotham has been running the rule over Liverpool’s new signings, with the pundit claiming that Benteke is the Anfield outfit’s most important addition.

The 36-year-old has stated that the Belgium international has the ability to revitalise the Merseyside outfit’s forward line and as such Stoke must watch the former Aston Villa man carefully.

“Of course, the Brazilian Roberto Firmino is the one who Liverpool fans can’t wait to see,” Higginbotham told The Independent.

“But Benteke is the pivotal player on whom Brendan Rodgers’ hopes to return to the incredible counter-attacking football of 2013-14 now rest.

“It was an ability to stretch defences which made the side so incredibly dangerous in the first 20 minutes of games two seasons ago.

“That’s why Rodgers’ instructions to Benteke about the first quarter of games will be: “It’s not about you and not about what you want to do with the ball.”

“He’ll want him stretching defences, driving past them and forcing them back, probably getting knocked down and battered by defenders as he does so.

“But by doing that he will create the time and space that Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, tucked in behind him, will need to be dangerous.

“Defenders will be worrying and wanting their defensive midfielder to stand in front of Benteke to quell him and that’s how the space is created.

“Benteke wasn’t Liverpool’s earliest capture but he was their most important.”

Benteke’s £32.5 million transfer fee has raised some eyebrows, with the Anfield faithful yet to make up their mind whether the strong forward is the answer to their prayers or another expensive mistake.

The ex-Villa man is said to not be 100 per cent fit, but showed his class with a stunning goal against Swindon in pre-season recently.

Brendan Rodgers also has the likes of Divock Origi, Danny Ings and Mario Balotelli to call upon if required this weekend.

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