Liverpool should sell Benteke, says Richard Buxton
Belgian's profligacy once again costs Reds; Klopp should sell him and stick with Sturridge
WEST HAM 2
(Michail Antonio 45, Angelo Ogbonna 120)
(Philippe Coutinho 48)
- After extra time
Liverpool have been here before - yet it is a lesson which, remarkably, remains unheeded.
Others are allowed to laugh all the way to the bank, while they continue to be derided as a laughing stock for gambling on another costly misfit.
Christian Benteke once represented the ringleader of Anfield's former tormentors, later recruited, but now continues to resemble everything wrong with the club's flawed yet long-standing transfer policy.
With all the mobility of a Boeing 747 taxiing for take-off, the towering Belgian is a poor fit for Juergen Klopp's ideology of a high-pressing Liverpool team.
In truth, he has never been even close to the right fit for Liverpool.
Even as early as last summer, he was no more the right man than Andy Carroll, ironically his opposite number in the death throes of yesterday morning's (Singapore time) FA Cup fourth-round replay defeat, when he pitched up little over five years ago.
Contrasting his impact with that of Daniel Sturridge could be surmised as a classic tale of two strikers - if Benteke was capable of being defined as a striker in anything other than name.
He remains nothing more than a target man; a battering ram last en vogue in the days when the "Route One" brand of football ruled over English football with an iron fist in the 1980s.
Liverpool were once the greatest resistors of that approach; instead preferring to play free-flowing and expansive passing football.
That message clearly became lost in the translation of Kenny Dalglish's time-travelling tenure, when Carroll arrived for an eye-watering £35 million ($70.8m).
Brendan Rodgers was as quick to inflict the same situation on his successor as the one he had inherited from Dalglish out of sheer desperation to cling to his job.
There is little, and perhaps no other explanation for his £32m outlay on Benteke.
Klopp's predecessor's madness carried a slight degree of method.
Liverpool needed a fully fit front-man to take up on the shortfall when Sturridge again invariably succumbed to injury - as he has regularly this season.
But fleeting glimpses from his stand-in have done little to ease the scoring burden.
The FA Cup once represented the peak of Benteke's powers; notably scoring against Liverpool as Aston Villa reached last season's final.
This season, it has been a further bane in his decline at the highest level, with four barren appearances.
He appears a far cry from the player who once posted double figures with ease.
Sturridge's introduction after barely an hour laid bare the Belgian's deficiencies in front of goal.
Even when afforded far more chances to make his mark in double that time frame, Benteke remained inferior to the returning England international as he spurned a host of opportunities, including two in the space of a minute.
Threats to his sceptre do not stem from Sturridge alone.
Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi's respective returns offer Liverpool further outlets to remedy their pitiful goal return.
Roberto Firmino's "false No. 9" status has also yielded a healthier return than Benteke's paltry seven goals from 30 appearances.
As the threat of Sturridge's prospective departure continues to loom, Klopp should be personally packing Benteke's bags in anticipation of the next flight out of the city's John Lennon Airport.
Ask 80-90 per cent of all strikers in the world — high quality, low quality, no quality — they will tell you they have times like this. Tonight, it was a really good game without the maximum finish. That’s right but he worked a lot so that’s a big step. That’s good for us, that’s good for him.
— Juergen Klopp, on Christian Benteke
They got a free-kick without a foul and we conceded a goal. I’m not long enough here to judge these things. If you are satisfied with the performance of the referee, write it. If not, say it. There were a lot of situations that, on a better day, I would say are funny decisions.
— Klopp, rueing the crucial late free-kick awarded to West Ham that led to Angelo Ogbonna’s last-gasp winner
>Luke - AnfieldIndex:
Benteke linked up okay, but we need to sell asap. For a "lethal goalscorer" he can't finish his dinner.
I'll always say this but Benteke was a waste of money, not even worth £10million.
Retweet this if you think Benteke is the worst player you've ever seen in a Liverpool shirt!!
Benteke was more of a waste of money than Andy Carroll was.
I've been a good boy all my life why am I cursed to watch Benteke kick a football every 3 days.
Benteke had more shots on target than the entire West Ham team yesterday. What a waste of money.