Player Focus: Christian Benteke vs. Bournemouth

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Christian Benteke once again led the line for his new club as he made his home bow in the Reds’ Barclays Premier League clash with Bournemouth.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 17, 2015: Liverpool's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring the first goal against AFC Bournemouth during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Here, Press Association Sport assesses how the £32.5million Belgium striker fared in Monday night’s contest at Anfield.

GOAL THREAT – AERIAL

Benteke’s manager at his previous club, Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood, suggested towards the end of last season that the player would not be suited to a side like Liverpool because he primarily feeds off crosses.

Certainly, the frontman caused Bournemouth problems with his physicality when the ball was sent into the box – but he did not actually manage to carve out an attempt on goal with his head.

GOAL THREAT – FEET

Benteke has rejected Sherwood’s words, vowing to show he can play with his feet as well, and the goal he notched in the 26th minute here did indeed come off his boot.

However, that was as a result of stretching it quite high to connect at the far post with Jordan Henderson‘s cross – perhaps a neatly slotted one-on-one finish or spectacular long-ranger would have done more to strengthen Benteke’s side of the debate.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 17, 2015: Liverpool's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring the first goal against AFC Bournemouth during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He went fairly close with a strike from the edge of the box moments earlier, and really should have done better in the last few minutes when he diverted a shot right in front of goal against the crossbar.

So the jury is still out, but one imagines Benteke will simply be focused on the fact he officially broke his Liverpool duck with what proved a match-winner, not how it was scored – nor the controversy surrounding the effort with regard to whether it should have been disallowed for offside against Philippe Coutinho.

LINK-UP PLAY

Benteke did a decent job of linking up with his team-mates – Coutinho in particular – with both his head and his feet, producing several useful knock-downs and tidy passes.

OVERALL

For the second game running, Liverpool were not entirely convincing in notching a 1-0 victory, but on an individual level Benteke will be pleased enough with an encouraging display that saw him get off the mark and ultimately settle the contest.

LIVERPOOL 1-0 BOURNEMOUTH:

PLAYER FOCUS: Christian Benteke vs. Bournemouth
FAN REACTION: “Performance unconvincing, result important”
TALKING POINTS: Clyne and Benteke impress, Lallana ineffective
PLAYER RATINGS
MANAGER REACTION: Howe unhappy with decisions

🏆  A collector’s item for every fan – the official LFC matchday programme for the day the Reds lift the title is available to order worldwide now.

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