Scrolling through the vast information hub that is TFF, I saw a post on Crystal Palace, which was written by @_kubap5. Immediately, the tendency of my brain to think about Liverpool made me think about Benteke, and I realised that his spell at Liverpool ought to be talked about.
Benteke is a talented footballer and when I heard that he would be joining Liverpool, I was excited. The team that I support lacked a consistently prolific striker and Benteke was that. It appeared that he would add much-needed quality to the attacking department, with his ability in the air and his ability with his feet. That summer, he came in ahead of a pivotal season for Rodgers, with him under-performing as Liverpool manager, it surely would be his last season if he did not put points and wins on the board. Therefore, any activity in the transfer window had to be prudently made, so many people were confident that Benteke was the right choice for Liverpool.
In the end, however, Benteke simply did not flourish under Liverpool’s system. The striker position for Liverpool required the ability to feed off of the creative wingers and midfielders and make quick runs in the attacking third to advance the attack and subsequently score goals. That is not Beneteke’s primary strength, so this system clearly hindered his ability to make a positive impact. Benteke’s bread and butter is receiving the ball from a cross and putting that ball into the back of the net with his head. For this process to occur, a great portion of the team needs to cater to specific needs. The fullbacks and/or wingers have to push wider to gain room for crosses, players have to be greatly aware of their positioning and movement in the box to create space for Benteke to work his magic.
Counter attacks must always be accounted for, as one bad cross that the goalkeeper receives can be kicked up the pitch, reach an attacking player and all of those people dedicated to the crossing game may well be out of position. If even one player does not do as they are told, the entire system breaks down. Liverpool were simply a team not trained to play in that fashion, thus explaining why Benteke did not perform at his best.
So who is to blame? Could Benteke have adapted to the football that Liverpool played? Sure, but the difference in play between Liverpool’s and the play that is ideal for Benteke is so drastic, it seems it would take considerable time to make the transition. If Benteke plays for a club that plays his style of football, he will score goals. The blame has to come down to whoever decided to sign Benteke. What were they thinking? Have they not seen how ineffective Andy Caroll, a player who plays similarly to Benteke, was? Unless they decided to overhaul their entire tactics, the bringing in of Benteke is just a fallacious waste of money.
Feature image credit:anfieldjustice