Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood is confident striker Christian Benteke will remain at the club, despite mounting speculation linking the Belgium international with a move to Liverpool.
Raheem Sterling's record-breaking move to Manchester City has seen rumours swell regarding the Reds' interest in Benteke, who has a £32.5m ($50.7m) release clause according to Sky Sports.
The Metro claims that Liverpool are the sole suitors for Benteke, who netted 13 goals in all competitions for the FA Cup runners-up Villa last term, after Tottenham Hotspur withdrew their interest in signing the uncompromising forward.
But Sherwood is confident of keeping the 24 year old from the clutches of Liverpool, who the Villa boss claims have enough strikers to start the season with.
"I think he stays," Sherwood told Sky Sports News HQ. "I think Liverpool – I looked the other day – have six or seven strikers at the club. Now I'm not sure how many they actually need. We know Christian is a very good player and we want to keep hold of him.
"If someone matches that buy-out clause there is nothing we can do about it but until that happens he is an Aston Villa player and we are all very pleased about that."
Liverpool have been urged to spend the £49m they have reportedly recouped from the sale of Sterling, according to BBC Sport, on a forward, with club legend Robbie Fowler claiming he would sign Benteke to complement Roberto Firmino.
"The striker issue is a big thing," Fowler told the Liverpool Echo. "We didn't have anyone who scored 10 Premier League goals last year and I can't remember the last time that happened at Liverpool.
"It's important we get a proven goalscorer and of the names being bandied about I'd go for Benteke. I think he's excellent.
"I know there are other top strikers out there and probably more prolific scorers. But in terms of all-round play – strength, speed, physicality, finishing – I think Benteke could be the main man for Liverpool."