Phil Thompson believes that Christian Benteke doesn’t have a future at Liverpool and will leave the club in the summer after just one season.
The Belgian international arrived from Aston Villa last summer in a £32.5m deal, but has failed to have the desired effect at Anfield under either Brendan Rodgers or Jurgen Klopp.
Benteke has managed just eight goals and five assists in 35 appearances in all competitions so far this season, and concerns prior to his arrival have essentially come to fruition.
In turn, Thompson believes that he will be sold this summer as he doesn’t envisage him turning the situation around between now and the end of the campaign.
“I would say for the sake of his own career he needs to leave,” he told Sky Sports. “He’s got the Euros coming up and he’s going to be sat on the bench with Romelu Lukaku starting and he won’t want the same to happen next season.
“He can’t do the pressing game that Jurgen Klopp demands and you can’t have £32.5m strikers sat on the bench playing a bit part.”
Benteke emerged as one of the Premier League’s top strikers during his time with Villa, as the 25-year-old was essentially the perfect fit for the club given their playing style was moulded around his ability to lead the line as they played to his strengths.
The transition from being the star striker to part of a squad competing at a higher level for silverware both at home and abroad has been difficult for him, and as mentioned by Thompson, the change in style of play hasn’t suited him.
As a result, an exit from Merseyside looks inevitable, but an additional question is whether or not Liverpool will be able to recoup the money spent on him last year.
Thompson suggested to Sky Sports that the Chinese Super League will be the best bet given their spending spree so far this season, but whether Benteke would be open to leaving Europe at this stage of his career remains to be seen.