BBC pundit Garth Crooks believes criticism of Liverpool striker Christian Benteke is harsh as he instead lays the blame for their latest defeat on the team’s creative players, the BBC report.
Liverpool kicked off 2016 with a whimper, losing 2-0 at a decent West Ham United side thanks to headed goals from winger Michail Antonio and former Reds striker Andy Carroll.
Errors at the back were costly for Jurgen Klopp’s side yet arguably a more pressing issue was their lack of real goalscoring opportunities and how Hammers goalkeeper Adrian had very little to do.
A number of supporters were once again quick to lay blame on expensive striker Benteke but Crooks instead feels the real fault lies with Liverpool’s so-called creative players.
"Christian Benteke is getting a lot of criticism, but I don’t think people realise how difficult it is to play up front on your own. If you’re playing up front, you expect the team to create chances for the strikers," Crooks explained on BBC Radio Five Live.
Liverpool have the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana for creative talent but they just haven’t been at the races of late, especially the latter two.
Former Hoffenheim ace Firmino played the opening hour at Upton Park yet was largely ineffective, producing just one shot on target and 38 accurate passes with most going sideways or backwards.
Lallana wasn’t much better as his replacement, posting no shots or key passes of note despite West Ham being intent on sitting back and allowing the visitors to dominate possession.
The underlying problem which Benteke faces is that the Belgium international thrives off balls from wide areas. Liverpool’s midfielders, however, prefer to play through the middle - prompting a Catch-22 situation.