Christian Benteke could make his competitive debut for Liverpool in the Premier League opener against Stoke City after marking his first appearance in the pre-season win over Swindon Town with a spectacular goal.
The Belgium international opened the scoring in the second half at the County Ground, controlling the ball on his chest outside the penalty area before turning and smashing the ball home on the volley past Lawrence Vigouroux. Jonathan Obika equalised for the League One side before Liverpool youngster Sheyi Ojo ensured Brendan Rodgers's side ended pre-season with a victory with a fortunate winner on 63 minutes.
But the afternoon belonged to Benteke on his first Liverpool appearance, which last 67 minutes before being replaced by Ryan Kent, despite the 24-year-old having endured a disrupted summer with little pre-season action. And though Benteke is not yet match fit, Rodgers says he is in contention to feature in Liverpool's first game of the campaign against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on 9 August.
"I'll know by the end of the week," Rodgers said. "Considering he has only been back in training for just over a week, I thought he looked really good. He looked fairly sharp and he was a real presence for us at the top of the field. I was really impressed by him. You saw him today, his hold-up play, his movement and his goal was top-level technique."
Liverpool start the season after having suffered the loss of another influential player in the form of Raheem Sterling, who has joined Manchester City for a record fee. Benteke is one of seven players signed by Liverpool this summer and Rodgers says he has already seen signs that the ex-Aston Villa forward can adapt to his new surroundings this season and avoid the struggles of Fabio Borini and Mario Balotelli.
"The key for us and how we work when we don't have the ball is the ability to be aggressive and press, and you can see Christian has that," added Rodgers. "And the key to playing with the ball is about technique and intelligence and you won't see too many better goals than that in terms of technique. Let's hope he scores some better ones, and plenty of them!
"His hold-up play brings others into the game and his pace is always a threat in behind. For me he is absolutely perfect about how we work. I know people have questioned is he going to fit into the fluency of how we want to work. But I think he'll show the capacity to do that and also add something to our game which is that real aerial threat in the box."