Why it could be Leicester who end Christian Benteke's Liverpool nightmare this summer

The Belgian striker looks certain to be shipped out by Jurgen Klopp in the transfer window.

He may be the club's second most expensive player of all time, but Christian Benteke's first season at Liverpool has been far from a roaring success, despite him proving he still has a finisher's instincts by netting his eight goal of the season in the 3-1 defeat to Swansea City on Sunday.

After scoring 49 goals in 101 games for Aston Villa across three seasons, Brendan Rodgers persuaded the Reds to shell out £32.5 million to sign the Belgian last summer.

However, the 25-year-old had just two goals to his name for the club when Rodgers was replaced by Jurgen Klopp in mid-October, and under the German manager he has slipped down the pecking order behind Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi and a fit-again Daniel Sturridge.

A large part of Benteke's struggles have been that he has failed to adapt to the high-pressure, ball-to-feet approach favoured by Klopp at Anfield, with the Reds not set up to play to the strengths of a traditional target man type of striker.

Liverpool's preference for playing one up top, flanked by fleet-footed attacking midfielders such as Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana, has also been a factor, and though Benteke was happy being the star of the show at Villa Park he has tended to get rather lost when featuring for the Merseysiders.

With the Belgian international looking set to leave the club this summer, there are likely to be a number of interested suitors who remember the way he terrorised defences for lowly Villa, and whilst teams such as West Ham have been linked with the striker, another club who should consider him as a serious option is Leicester City.

The Foxes will have unprecedented challenges ahead of them next season as they juggle a likely defence of their Premier League crown with a first ever Champions League involvement, something which will necessitate not only a larger squad, but also the options to enable them to switch to a plan B when needed.

Leonardo Ulloa is the closest thing the Foxes have to a target man-type striker despite performing a far broader role than that, but the Midlands side could fit Benteke into their style far more easily than Liverpool.

The Reds, though they have begun to place more focus on crossing in recent weeks, have not been a side to put the ball into the box in the air much throughout the campaign.

With Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton capable of delivery numerous accurate crosses each game, Leicester could play to Benteke's aerial strengths, and though he has not been able to show it regularly at Anfield, the Belgian does have the ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play.

The Belgian is a target man in many ways, but he has more technical ability than just being able to win a header, and in his later days at Villa his link-up play with the likes of Jack Grealish and Fabian Delph showed that he is adept at linking up with his teammates on the turf as well as challenging in the air.

Like Liverpool, though, Leicester play a high-intensity brand of football, and what he would need to be a success at the King Power Stadium would be teammates to do the majority of his legwork for him, running the channels and keeping the pressure up on the defence when opposing teams are in possession, none of which are core strengths for Benteke.

In Jamie Vardy, Benteke would have perhaps his ideal strike mate in that regard, and any partnership between the two would be more than just a big-man-small-man combination.

Benteke is not hugely mobile - although he did harbour the ability to gallop through defences when in a rich vein of form at Villa - and Vardy's terrier-like approach and limitless energy would provide him with the perfect foil.

Although sticking him up top on his own would be a decent alternative approach for Ranieri, any successful move for Benteke to Leicester would depend on him striking up an understanding with the likes of Vardy and Mahrez.

Though his time at Liverpool has undoubtedly been far from a huge success, Benteke still has eight goals this season despite his bit-part role, and with the forward likely to cost only around half of what Liverpool paid for him less than 12 months ago, Leicester could do far worse than setting their sights on adding him to their squad ahead of their first season as an established top club.

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