Ahead of Christian Benteke's proposed move to Crystal Palace, we take a closer at whether the Belgian will be a huge hit, or yet another costly mistake.
Benteke, who only joined Liverpool a little over 12 months ago for a fee of £32.5 million, is said to have been told he no longer features in manager Jurgen Klopp’s plans, and has been the subject of several bids this transfer window.
With Crystal Palace now looking almost certain to secure the former Aston Villa man’s signature, we take a closer look at whether or not Benteke will be able to justify his hefty fee, should he join The Eagles.
Benteke’s goals – or lack thereof – has been the subject of much ridicule since his big-money move to Liverpool in the summer of 2015.
With the exception of his spent plying his trade in front of the Kop however, Benteke’s goal scoring record is actually very respectable.
At his previous club Aston Villa, the big Belgian averaged almost exactly a goal every two games, scoring a total of 49 goals in just 101 games – including 42 in 89 league appearances.
The same is also true of his previous club before moving to England, with Benteke having scored 20 goals in 41 appearances across all competitions for Belgian side K.R.C Genk.
Despite also being widely perceived as a failure at Liverpool, Benteke did actually manage to contribute 15 goals in all competitions last season – 11 goals and a further four assists.
Whilst on the surface, this figure may not sound too impressive for a man that cost upwards of £30 million, these 15 goals did come from only 22 starts, with the 23 other appearances made by Benteke last season all coming from substitute appearances in the latter stages of matches.
Even disregarding his time spent at Liverpool, Benteke has certainly demonstrated that he is more than capable of putting the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis.
Style of play
Another mitigating factor regarding Benteke’s supposed goal-mouth struggles at Liverpool last season, might be both his manager’s and his team’s reluctance to play a style of football that properly made use of the big Belgian’s strengths.
A tall, powerful striker, with good ability both in the air, and in terms of finishing one on one chances, Benteke is a striker who relies on good service into the box, both from out-wide as well as from through the middle.
At Liverpool, especially under current manager Jurgen Klopp, Benteke was expected to not only craft chances for both himself – as well as his teammates – but was also expected to have a much greater level of contribution towards the team’s defensive shape.
At Crystal Palace, this is almost certain to change. What with their much-publicised struggles in front of goal – and with Benteke’s proven track record of delivering goals for a struggling team, a.k.a. Aston Villa – Benteke is sure to be given a greater level of freedom in terms of finding space himself inside the oppositions final third.
Palace are also a side who have forged a reputation for themselves as a team who favour using width when they attack, with Yannick Bolasie’s and Wilfried Zaha’s pace and movement out wide last season being two key factors in their early-season run of form.
Even with the club having lost Bolasie to Everton in the past few days, this element is sure to continue being a crucial part of Palace’s overall game plan, heading into the new season.
And with Benteke being a striker who thrives off having fast players either side of him, and a constant supply of balls into the box, don’t be surprised if the much-maligned Belgian, turns out to be a major hit with The Eagles this season.