LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 22, 2015: Liverpool's Christian Benteke looks dejected after missing a chance against Rubin Kazan during the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“You’re joking?” – Liverpool shocked Aston Villa with £32.5m Christian Benteke offer

Liverpool’s £32.5 million signing of Christian Benteke stands as one of their worst under Fenway Sports Group, and even Aston Villa were left shocked at the time.

Through no fault of his own, Benteke became a symbol of Liverpool’s strange decline under Brendan Rodgers in the months after his move from Villa.

At the time he was the second-most expensive signing in the club’s history, and he was doomed to join Andy Carroll on the list of costly failures.

Widely considered a Rodgers signing while Liverpool’s transfer committee pushed through a deal for Roberto Firmino, it was no surprise that, when Jurgen Klopp arrived, his fate was effectively sealed.

Villa’s manager at the time of the move was Tim Sherwood, who has spoken to the Undr the Cosh podcast about the club’s shock at how much the Reds were willing to pay.

SWINDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 2, 2015: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers congratulates new signing Christian Benteke at the end of a friendly match against Swindon Town match at the County Ground. (Pic by Mark Hawkins/Propaganda)

“Brendan rang me and told me he was going to sign Christian, so I said ‘what are you going to do that for?!’,” he joked, with Sherwood himself desperate to keep the striker.

“‘Don’t sign him, he’s terrible!’. I was trying to put him off, bless Christian.

“But I said to Brendan, ‘really?’. He said ‘yeah, we’re going to take the buyout clause’.

“So I remember ringing up the chairman and saying ‘Christian’s going to go’. He was like ‘you’re joking?’.

“But he was saying not ‘oh you’re joking, we’re don’t want to lose him’. He was like ‘you’re joking, no one’s paying that!’.

“I don’t know what the fee was but it sounded like a lot at the time – not now. Liverpool bought him and he left.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 25, 2015: Liverpool's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring the first goal against Southampton with team-mate Roberto Firmino during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Benteke went on to play 42 times in his only season on Merseyside, 36 of those coming under Klopp, with a return of 10 goals and six assists.

But with Firmino establishing himself as one of the club’s most important players – if not the most important – in his unique take on the No. 9 role, Benteke was moved on in the summer.

The Belgian was sold to Crystal Palace in a deal worth up to £32 million, while Sadio Mane arrived for £30 million and the rest was history.

Speaking shortly after his switch to Palace, Benteke admitted he was not suited to the style of play under Klopp.

“When I signed there was another coach and with him it might have turned out differently,” he insisted.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 30, 2015: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp chats with match-winning goal-scorer Christian Benteke after the 1-0 victory over Sunderland during the Premier League match at the Stadium of Light. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I did not fit the tactical system of the new coach. That was not easy mentally because I was left to fight a losing battle.

“But I must not look for excuses. I could also have done better in those few minutes I got. I have not performed as expected.”

Benteke, now 33, is currently captain of DC United in MLS, with 11 goals and one assist in 10 games so far this season – including a hat-trick in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Atlanta United.