Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has told the Daily Star that Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke is a 'major threat' as he gears up to return to Anfield.
Benteke, 26, signed for Liverpool from Aston Villa in 2015, and having hit 49 goals in 101 games during his time at Villa Park, the Belgian was seen as a major addition for the Reds.
However, he not only struggled to adapt to Brendan Rodgers' style of play, but then couldn't nail down a regular first-team place under Rodgers' replacement Klopp, scoring just ten goals in 42 games last season.
With Roberto Firmino serving as Klopp's first-choice striker, Benteke was unsurprisingly sold last summer, with Crystal Palace – then managed by Alan Pardew – forking out £27million to sign him (BBC Sport).
Benteke has endured his ups and downs this season, but with three goals in his last four outings, the giant Belgian international has now taken his tally for the season to 14 goals in all competitions.
His form will be ominous for Liverpool, who host Palace at Anfield this weekend, with the Reds hoping that Benteke doesn't come back to haunt them as the chase a Champions League spot.
Ahead of the game, Liverpool boss Klopp – the man who sold Benteke less than a year ago – has told the Daily Star that he thinks Benteke is an unbelievable threat when the ball is in the air, admitting that he saw just how dangerous he could be during his time with Liverpool.
Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke
Klopp even suggested that Liverpool will have to gameplan against Benteke in the same way that they would with Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, claiming that the Reds can't afford to let a high volume of crosses come into the box, as Benteke could make them pay.
“When the ball is in the air, he is the major and main threat, it’s unbelievable – we felt it a lot of times here when we trained together,” said Klopp. “He has scored [plenty of] goals for Crystal Palace now. He is obviously another player with confidence, in a good run.”
“Like it is always when you play against Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], other strikers, these kinds of strikers – tall, good with their back to the goal – you have to avoid the crosses and you have to avoid the passes. That’s how it works. If we let them cross 50 balls it’s pretty likely he will have a few dangerous headers. That’s not his only strength, of course, but that’s a real strength,” he added.
Do you think Benteke will come back to haunt Liverpool?