Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will install Christian Benteke as his first-choice striker this season once the Belgian completes his move to Anfield from Premier League rivals Aston Villa, Mirror Sport reports.
The Reds have reportedly activated the £32.5million release clause in Benteke’s contract with the Midlands outfit [via BBC Sport] and reports in talkSPORT on Friday afternoon claimed the player will undergo a medical early next week.
Once the deal is complete the 24-year-old will become manager Brendan Rodgers’ seventh signing of the summer transfer window following the arrivals of James Milner, Adam Bodgan, Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino, Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Clyne.
Benteke will be asked to lead the line for at least the first couple of months of the new season as Daniel Sturridge battles back from hip surgery.
Upon the England international’s return to fitness, he is likely to find himself relegated as the club’s second choice striker behind the Belgian as Rodgers is keen to avoid a repeat of last season where his over-reliance on Sturridge cost his side dearly.
Following the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona last summer, many expected Sturrdige to be the club’s main goalscoring threat and despite opening his account against Southampton in the first game of the season, he suffered with various injuries throughout the campaign and is now likely to have to accept being Benteke’s back-up.
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Last season Benteke played a huge part in securing Villa’s survival in the Premier League and he also scored against the Reds when the two sides met in the FA Cup semi-final in April.
After Philippe Coutinho had given Liverpool the lead at Wembley, the powerful forward equalised a few minutes later with a crisp finish past his international teammate Simon Mignolet as Villa upset the odds to reach the final.