Christian Benteke
Benteke scored in both league fixtures against United last season. Getty Images

Former Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has endorsed Manchester United's interest in striker Christian Benteke, despite Liverpool being reportedly on the brink of signing the Belgium international.

The Sun had claimed that Louis van Gaal's side were leading the race to sign the 24-year-old, who scored 13 goals for Villa in all competitions last season.

However, the Liverpool Echo understands that the Merseyside club are ready to match Benteke's £32.5m ($50.7m, €46.5m release clause, which Tim Sherwood has confirmed will lead to his departure this summer.

Responding to the initial reports regarding United's pursuit of Benteke, former Champions League winner Lambert told Talksport the forward is up to the challenge of succeeding at Old Trafford.

"I've got no doubt [that Benteke could succeed at Manchester United]. I played with some great number nines and Christian on his day is unplayable the way he is.

"He could handle it [the move to United] He has got the mentality to handle it. He is a brilliant footballer with his strength and his technique. I think if Christian could handle the mentality side he would have no problem whatsoever."

Having just parted ways with Raheem Sterling, Liverpool are under pressure to reinvest the money in the transfer window – though manager Brendan Rodgers has indicated the club's business could already be over.

Sterling became the most expensive English player ever when he moved to Manchester City for £49m, according to BBC Sport, in the second high profile departure from Anfield in successive summers.

Luis Suarez joined Barcelona and Liverpool went on to fail to finish in the Premier League top four and qualify for the Champions League, which sees Rodgers' side consigned to a campaign back in the Europa League.

Former striker Robbie Fowler believes that Benteke would be the perfect forward to help turn the Reds' fortunes around.

"It's important we get a proven goalscorer and of the names being bandied about I'd go for Benteke," Fowler told the Liverpool Echo. "I think he's excellent.

"In terms of all-round play - strength, speed, physicality, finishing - I think Benteke could be the main man for Liverpool."