Jurgen Klopp insists that he was content with the performance of misfiring striker Christian Benteke during Liverpool's dominant 3-0 FA Cup third-round replay win over Exeter City on 20 January. The hosts were never unduly troubled by their League Two opponents at Anfield, taking an early lead through Joe Allen before securing victory with second-half efforts from Sheyi Ojo and Joao Teixeira.
Just as he did in the first tie earlier this month, Klopp made sweeping changes to his starting lineup and only goalkeeper Simon Mignolet retained his place from the side that lost 1-0 to Manchester United last weekend. Although the likes of Jordon Ibe, Brad Smith, Ojo and Teixeira all impressed, however, Benteke was unable to register on the scoresheet and his disjointed performance rather gave the impression that he was suffering from a chronic lack of confidence in front of goal.
The Belgian international has struggled to impress since completing a £32.5m ($46.1m) switch from Aston Villa last summer, scoring just seven goals in all competitions and being relegated to the bench in the Premier League in favour of an attacking unit spearheaded by the versatile Roberto Firmino.
Klopp rejected any notion that Benteke was short of confidence after the full-time whistle, insisting that he was given a rough ride by the Grecians defence. Speaking to BT Sport, he said: "No. I saw him immediately after the game and he was in good shape.
"It's not the most thankful game for a striker of course, all the defenders jump on him and the ref didn't help... It was not easy for him but he stood in the game and he worked over 92 minutes and that was important for me.
"Of course it would have been good for him and for us if he could have scored tonight but he didn't. But he was always in situations, he worked for the spaces around the box and in the box and so it was okay. A striker, if he doesn't score, is not satisfied. That's normal, but it was okay."