Jurgen Klopp explains why he left Christian Benteke out of Liverpool starting XI against Chelsea

Christian Benteke Belgium

Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana shared the burden up front before Christian Benteke was introduced into the action on the hour mark in the 3-1 win over Chelsea.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been explaining why he left Christian Benteke out of his side's starting XI for the 3-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday.

Benteke came off the bench to play a pivotal role in Philippe Coutinho's second goal of the afternoon, before rounding off the scoring to ensure Klopp's first league win in charge of the Reds.

Klopp opted to start the game with Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana sharing the duties through the middle as he started without a recognised centre-forward, with youngster Divock Origi left at Melwood to continue to work on his development rather than watch from the sidelines. 

The Liverpool boss has told the club's official website: “The decision between Roberto and Christian… Christian is not 100 per cent, so he needs time to play. Now he is a big step ahead so we can plan with him.

“He played against Southampton, then Bournemouth he couldn’t – little problems. We could bring him on with fresh legs. That’s perfect.

“Roberto is very important in this position for us because he can hold the ball, he plays between the lines and he is very creative. He can do much better, that’s the good news, but it was not too bad.”

Benteke has yet to start a game under Klopp, given that he was sidelined with a hamstring injury when the German arrived. As he worked his way back to fitness, he suffered a minor knee injury in the draw against Southampton, meaning he missed an opportunity to get more minutes under his belt in the League Cup win over Bournemouth. Given that both Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings are sidelined, it's of little surprise that Klopp wants to protect Benteke and allow him to build his fitness up gradually. 

The £32.5 million signing has scored two goals from as many substitute appearances and look as if he is going to be one of the club's more effective signings from the summer as Liverpool try and improve in front of goal. The impact he has made from the bench means it's probably tempting to use him from the bench in more games going forward.

It would be interesting to see how Benteke is used going forward as fans would like to see both Benteke and Firmino playing together a lot more to give the Reds that element of potency required in the final third. 

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