An attack unfulfilled
The prospect of a world-class forward line means Klopp won't give up on Benteke, yet
Christian Benteke was supposed to be the attacking weapon to fire Liverpool back into the Champions League.
A forward quartet comprising Benteke, Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino would have been able to give the terrific trio of Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Sturridge a run for their money.
If the four sparkled together, they would have struck fear across the English Premier League and even in Europe.
But Benteke the "bargain buy", as then-manager Brendan Rodgers put it, now finds himself too often sitting on the bench as a £32.5-million ($66.5m) problem. He can't hold down a starting spot even in a Liverpool side decimated by injuries.
He doesn't seem to fit into Juergen Klopp's plans, with the German manager opting to leave him out even when he has no recognised strikers available.
Hours before the FA Cup third-round replay against Exeter this morning (Singapore time), Klopp moved to quell rumours that the 25-year-old was on his way out.
He asked the 1.90-metre tall striker to "stay cool" about his future.
He claimed that he tried to sign Benteke three years ago when he was Borussia Dortmund coach.
The Belgian, he insisted, was a "complete striker", but had to learn what is needed to lead the Liverpool frontline.
Therein lies the problem.
Klopp rates him, but wants the big striker to alter his style and mindset to fit his system, not the other way round.
So far, neither has happened.
But the manager's latest comments seem to at least suggest that he is willing to give potential a chance.
Liverpool fans, spoilt after the rip-roaring 2013/14 Premiership campaign that starred the triumvirate of Suarez-Sturridge-Sterling and saw the Reds net 101 goals and come within two points of winning the title, are tearing their hair out at the team's mediocrity in front of goal.
This term, the Reds have averaged slightly over a goal a game - 25 in 22 matches, although injuries have played a huge part in that appalling statistic.
Coutinho has been Liverpool's finest attacking player this season, but he missed three weeks of football between November and December with a knock.
REDS' TOP MARKSMAN
A hamstring injury ruled him out of the team's last three matches and the Brazilian star isn't likely to be back before next month.
Sturridge has taken part in just four games in all competitions and Klopp only recently confirmed that he did not work out for six weeks and had just returned to the training field.
Firmino has blown hot and cold in his first season in England but, in recent weeks, has been shouldering the team's attacking responsibilities.
Despite Klopp's obvious misgivings over his ability to do the job for the team, Benteke has scored six league goals in 12 starts, which makes him Liverpool's top scorer in the Premiership.
It should not be a surprise as he was considered one of the best strikers in the Premier League when he arrived at Anfield.
Over three seasons, even in an unexceptional Aston Villa side, he averaged a healthy 14 goals per campaign.
When, or if, Sturridge, Coutinho, Firmino and Benteke are all available, Klopp may finally be able to unleash a potent attack that could lay waste to the very best defences.
What he has never had is even the chance to test out the combination on the training ground, let alone make it work.
Liverpool, at the moment eight points off a top-four spot, seem in need of a miracle to qualify for next season's Champions League.
That miracle hinges on the possibility of Klopp getting all four players together to do damage on the field as the Premier League enters the business end of the season.
LIVERPOOL (2013/14 SEASON, 38 GAMES)
- LUIS SUAREZ (31 goals/33 starts)
- DANIEL STURRIDGE (22 goals/26 starts)
- RAHEEM STERLING (9 goals/24 starts)
- Total team goals: 101
- League position: 2nd
(AFTER 22 GAMES THIS SEASON)
- CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (6 goals/12 starts)
- PHILIPPE COUTINHO (5 goals/17 starts)
- ROBERTO FIRMINO (3 goals/13 starts)
- DANIEL STURRIDGE (2 goals/3 starts)
- Total team goals: 25
- Current league position: 9th