After Christian Benteke revealed his “man conversation” with Jurgen Klopp, the manager says he has faith that the striker can thrive at Liverpool.
Benteke scored the winning goal in Saturday’s 1-0 home victory over Leicester City, but continued to cut a jarring figure leading the Liverpool attack.
The Belgian, who arrived at the club as part of a £32.5 million deal with Aston Villa this summer, told reporters after that clash that he had an heart-to-heart with Klopp.
An archetypal target man by trade, Benteke suggested he “can adapt” to Klopp’s attacking demands, saying “I have to run more and I have to be there for my team-mates.”
Addressing the media ahead of Wednesday night’s trip to take on Sunderland, Klopp spoke of his faith in the striker.
“We shouldn’t always create pressure on a player,” he said.
“We spoke about a few things, that’s always important.
“He knows what he has to do, it was not too easy to come in [as a substitute against Leicester].
“He’s a player with such potential.”
The majority of the criticism facing Benteke is that, while his strength and power can be positive attributes for the Reds, his lack of movement in the final third detracts from the work of his team-mates.
Divock Origi started ahead of the 25-year-old on Saturday, with his pace and intelligent runs providing a more suitable spearhead for the Liverpool attack.
But while Klopp recognises their differences, he said this should not be an issue.
“He’s not the same striker as Daniel [Sturridge] or Divock, these strikers are different,” he continued.”
“We have to use his natural skills, and he has to try and be more involved in the game.
“It’s not possible to play your own style when the team doesn’t play the same.
“Of course a striker has to make goals, that’s what we need him for.
“We are clear, and he can work and play.”
Benteke is set to start in attack at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, and Klopp will be hoping for a positive performance from his big-money striker, with both Sturridge and Origi injured.
The former Villa man has his work cut out for him, but Klopp has made his objectives clear.
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