Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has made it clear that Christian Benteke remains very much a part of his plans at Anfield despite the striker struggling for regular game time in recent weeks. The German manager has changed his tactics and is currently playing Roberto Firmino as a false No 9 despite his team struggling to score goals on a consistent basis.
The Belgium international, who joined the Merseyside club during the summer in a £32.5m ($46m) deal, has found himself on the bench in recent matches with Klopp using him as an impact player, prompting suggestions that he does not have a future at the club. The manager has reprimanded the striker for his poor work rate during games, and admitted that at the moment the former Aston Villa forward does not fit into his style of play. However, he insisted that Benteke will get his chances and remains a part of his plans for the future.
"You are too quick in your judgments. If I worked like this I would send players who miss chances to the next club or whatever. Stay cool. Of course he has a future, that is not a question," Klopp said, when asked about Benteke's future at the club, as quoted by the Guardian.
"What we have to do is think what team fits together for the special game. For the next game it could be different. We have to think about how we create chances. First of all we cannot hope that we get the ball into the box and then maybe Christian will finish it."
"He is a goalscorer and makes chances and so on, that is all good, but this is how it works – we make a starting line-up and it ends at 11, then we make the bench. He has always the possibility to play."
"In this situation you have to look at how it fits. For example, we had our games with Roberto and Christian as a No 10 and a No 9. It did not work in this moment but that does not mean we can never play like this," the former Mainz manager explained.
The former Borussia Dortmund manager has admitted that he tried to sign the then Villa striker for the Bundesliga club in 2013 and labelled Benteke a 'complete striker'. But the German believes that he still needs to develop his all-round game.
"We saw a lot of games he played and liked how he kept the ball, his technical skills, of course the header but not only that, his finishing skills, all this stuff. From all those things he is a complete striker but at the end you have to work for it. He didn't finish his development and we as a team didn't finish," he added.