Martin Keown says Christian Benteke's struggles at Liverpool are down to club, not player

Paisley Gateway

The former Arsenal and England defender writes that the Belgian striker simply was the wrong signing for the Reds to make.

Former Arsenal and England centre-back Martin Keown has written in his Daily Mail column that Christian Benteke cannot be blamed for his lack of success at Liverpool as he is simply the wrong kind of player for Jurgen Klopp's brand of football.

The Belgian became the second-most expensive player in the history of the Reds when he was brought in by Brendan Rodgers for £32.5 million last summer after scoring 49 goals in 101 matches in three seasons at Aston Villa.

However, since his arrival at Anfield he has been unable to replicate any kind of repeat of that success, netting just eight times in 36 appearances and only finding the net once in his 16 matches in 2016.

The 25-year-old has appeared to have a fractured relationship with Rodgers' successor Klopp since the German arrived as manager in October, and that tension seems to be getting worse with the former Borussia Dortmund man publicly dressing down the striker in the 3-2 defeat to Southampton last weekend.

Keown claims that Benteke's failure to make a big impact at Anfield can be rooted back to the fact that he was not the right signing for the club to make last summer and has only been exacerbated by the style of football preferred by Klopp.

He wrote in his Daily Mail column: "Klopp had a go at him for missing a big chance last weekend, and clearly he’s not happy at the moment.

"Benteke’s power and aerial ability can make him a very useful player but Liverpool don’t want to play to his strengths. Klopp wants a high-energy striker who can close down defenders and link the play, while Benteke doesn’t really have the mobility to win back possession in this way.

"When they first signed him I wondered how he would fit into their system, and it seems like most teams are much less direct these days. Players like Benteke have gone from being match-winners to bit-part players."

Benteke's struggles have led to reports that he will be one of the first players cleared out by Klopp in the German's first transfer window as Reds manager, despite the Belgian international reportedly turning down a lucrative move to China in January to instead stay and fight for his place.

However, Liverpool legend John Barnes claimed on Wednesday that it will be hard to sell the striker if they try to move him on in the transfer window as they will struggle to find a club willing to pay his considerable wages after such a mediocre season.

Benteke has started just 12 Premier League matches in his first season on Merseyside and has slipped behind Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, and Divock Origi in the attacking pecking order.

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