English Premiership

Benteke makes Liverpool unpredictable

2015-08-24 12:59
Christian Benteke (AP)

London - Brendan Rodgers has defended the perceived change in Liverpool's playing style brought on by the inclusion of Christian Benteke and said the tall Belgian striker gives his side an element of unpredictability they were lacking last season.

Liverpool travel to the Emirates Stadium to take on Arsenal on Monday night hoping to maintain their perfect start to the season after two 1-0 victories in their previous fixtures.

The six-foot-four-inch (1.93 metres) Benteke, who joined from Aston Villa for a reported £32.5 million in the close season, scored on his first appearance at Anfield for the Merseyside club to secure three points against Bournemouth last week.

"When you bring in a certain profile of player, it gives you other options," said Rodgers, who sold another tall target man in Andy Carroll after taking the reigns at Liverpool because the forward was deemed incompatible with the high-energy, quick passing style the manager wanted to implement.

"One of the key things in bringing Christian here was, first and foremost, that he can play football," the manager said.

"As you see already, his touch is good. His ability to bring players into the game, whether that's with his feet or a little cushioned header, is a great skill," the Northern Irishman added.

"What he gives us is that threat in the box; when the ball comes in, he's a striker that's in the area.

"There are other ways of keeping the game alive, but when you have a 6 foot 4 inch player like Christian when the ball comes into the box, because of his physicality and mobility it keeps the game alive that little bit longer," Rodgers said.

The manager denied that the 24-year-old Belgian's inclusion had resulted in a departure from the playing style he has tried to establish at the club over the past three seasons.

"It wasn't the case that we were smashing the ball into the box and playing off a second ball. I'm not against that. There's not a compromise," Rodgers said.

"I said at the beginning of the season that we want the unpredictability to our game.

"Our conditions of our game won't change but hopefully because of the different types of players we have, and different strikers in particular, it gives that unpredictability to our game, which is important," he added.

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