After his consolation effort in Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Swansea City, Christian Benteke vowed to “fight until the end” for his place at Liverpool.
Benteke headed past Lukasz Fabianski less than 20 minutes after his introduction at half-time at the Liberty Stadium, but it wasn’t enough to inspire Liverpool to a comeback on Sunday afternoon.
This marked Benteke’s first proper outing since his spell out with injury, after coming on in the closing stages of the Reds’ 1-0 defeat to Villarreal last Thursday.
With Divock Origi injured, the Belgian could be handed a lifeline under Jurgen Klopp.
While he is still likely to leave the club this summer, speaking after his goal in south Wales on Sunday, Benteke vowed to fight for his future.
“I’m happy to score, obviously, but the main thing is the three points and unfortunately we didn’t get them,” he told LFCTV.
“I’m feeling good and I’m going to work hard and fight until the end.
“Everyone wants to play this game [against Villarreal], and we will be sharper and really focused for this important game.”
Though he is unlikely to start against the Yellow Submarine at Anfield, having fallen down the pecking order under Klopp this season, Benteke’s goal in Swansea may have given the German food for thought.
With Liverpool needing at least two goals to seal their place in the Europa League final, Klopp has promised to “throw the kitchen sink” at Villarreal.
“If you go out in the semis, then do so kicking and screaming,” he told reporters after last week’s last-gasp defeat.
“Things are possible with 1-0, it is not the biggest result in the world.
“Villarreal know a lot more about us and they will respect us.
“Now we have to find solutions to a few things, but I saw we are in a good way.”
Left on the bench throughout the first leg, Daniel Sturridge will remain something of an unknown quantity for Villarreal manager Marcelino, and he could provide Klopp with a solution.
But with Benteke in reserve, and Roberto Firmino performing so admirably at Estadio El Madrigal, Klopp has plenty of options as he pursues victory on Thursday night.