Christian Benteke
Benteke scored 16 goals in all competitions last season.Getty Images

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke is Liverpool's main transfer target in the summer transfer window, according to former midfielder Ray Houghton.

The Belgium forward had been heavily linked with a move to Anfield, but the Evening Standard have reported that the Reds are unwilling to match his reported £32.5m release clause.

"I heard that Benteke was one of their major priorities in the summer, that he was the one that they were looking for," Houghton told Talksport.

"Benteke is a huge player. I think if he went to Liverpool he would fit into the style. He's something they haven't got, he's big, he's physical. He can upset defenders, he's got genuine pace and when you get him in the right frame of mind he can score goals."

Brendan Rodgers' transfer business has been heavily scrutinised in his three seasons at the club, with genuine success stories few and far between. Though nine new additions were made last summer, Liverpool still failed to qualify for the Champions League.

While Liverpool have resisted paying out a huge lump sum on a single player, Arsenal have performed an about-turn in their transfer policy, making marquee signings in the last two summers in the form of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

And Houghton has urged Liverpool to repeat Arsenal's new-found model with the money they may get for the sale of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City.

"They should spend but it might depend on what happens with Raheem Sterling. If [Manchester City] get it up to the £50m that Liverpool are looking for then that should free up some money.

"And not for Brendan to bring in a £10m player or a £15m player, you have to go for a £30m or a £35m and really put down a marker like Arsenal have in the last two years in getting Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

"They're the names that get fans on the edge of their seats and get them upbeat for the season ahead and that is what Brendan needs. Having lost two coaching staff members that is not a good sign for Brendan at all."