Christian Benteke: Why he is Liverpool's match-winner and not a flop

Anfield Pitch

Christian Benteke is reportedly fighting to save his Liverpool career, but the Merseyside giants should not be considering an exit for the Belgian forward.

 

Ever since his £32m transfer during the summer, it has been perceived that Christian Benteke has not pulled his weight in Liverpool's attack, and if you base that theory on his performances and shot conversion alone, you are probably correct.

 

However, the statistics don't lie and when you take a look at his record for this season, it can be seen that Benteke's goals make a difference. That doesn't necessarily mean that he has found the back of the net in the closing stages on half-a-dozen occasions, but when the Belgian scores, his strikes generally result in Liverpool getting points on the board.

 

Aside from his sensational effort against Manchester United in September, Liverpool have not lost a game in which Benteke has scored, and more importantly, his goals or, in some cases assists, are leading the Reds to either a victory by the narrowest of margins or a draw.

 

The latest of those came against Crystal Palace, when he won a penalty before returning to his feet to place the ball into the bottom corner, but let's take a look at how the 25-year-old has ensured that Liverpool are in the chase for a top-six spot rather than sitting in mid-table.

 

1) Liverpool vs. Bournemouth (17/8/2015)

 

There was plenty of controversy regarding this goal because Benteke converted at the back post from an offside position, but he was still there when it mattered and it ensured that Liverpool made it two wins from two at the start of the campaign after they had previously edged out Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

 

2) Liverpool vs. Southampton (25/10/2015)

 

After making his return from injury three days earlier, Benteke would be thrown on for the second half against Southampton as Liverpool looked to end a run of four successive draws.

 

With 13 minutes remaining, Benteke would head in the opening goal, and although it was cancelled out during the closing stages, this was another fixture in which the forward had directly helped his team to a point.

 

3) Chelsea vs. Liverpool (31/10/2015)

 

Benteke only had 26 minutes on the pitch at Stamford Bridge, but it was long enough for him to contribute to two goals as Liverpool ran out 3-1 winners.

 

The first came by way of an assist as he headed the ball into the path of Philippe Coutinho to fire a shot into the top corner, before nine minutes later, he kept his composure inside the penalty area and fired across Asmir Begovic to earn Jurgen Klopp's men their first Premier League win in over a month.

 

4) Liverpool vs. Leicester City (26/12/2015)

 

Benteke would go two months before he would score his next goal in the Premier League but when he did, it was a pretty significant one as he ended Leicester City's unbeaten run in the top flight, which had stretched back until the end of September.

 

It was a well-taken goal, too. Roberto Firmino clipped the ball back to Benteke, who directed a volley on the slide into the bottom corner. For a man bereft of confidence, it was a fantastic finish. 

 

5) Sunderland vs. Liverpool (30/12/2015)

 

Four days later, Liverpool took on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and the game is probably best remembered for the chances that Benteke missed rather than the one that he converted, but he was still his side's match-winner on the night.

 

After meeting Adam Lallana's pass, he slipped the ball past Vito Mannone from inside the area to move Liverpool into seventh position after they had began the night three places lower in 10th.

 

6) Liverpool vs. Arsenal (13/1/2016)

 

Benteke would find himself on the bench for the highly-anticipated clash with Arsenal, but he would end the evening having provided the assist for Joe Allen's dramatic late equaliser.

 

The ball was floated up to Benteke at the back post, with his header falling at the feet of Allen who fired the ball past Petr Cech and into the corner.

 

7) Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool (6/3/2016)

 

Regardless of whether you thought it was a penalty or not, Benteke was solely responsible for Liverpool winning an extra two points on Sunday afternoon.

 

He held his nerve under pressure and ensured that the Merseyside giants ended the afternoon in seventh rather than eighth, and it means he has now contributed to 15 of Liverpool's 44 points in the Premier League this season.

 

It's debatable whether that represents value for money, but based on this evidence, Benteke cannot be branded a flop.

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