English Premiership

Rodgers hails 'incredible' Benteke

2015-08-03 08:07
Christian Benteke celebrates scoring for Liverpool (Twitter)

Swindon - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hailed new signing Christian Benteke after his wonder goal set the Premier League giants on their way to victory at third-tier Swindon Town in their final pre-season friendly on Sunday.

The Belgian international - a £32.5 million arrival from top-flight rivals Aston Villa last month - scored a spectacular 20-yard volley just after half-time as Liverpool triumphed 2-1 at the County Ground.

"Christian's goal was incredible, whether it was a pre-season friendly or in a league or cup game. It was wonderful technique from the big guy," beamed Rodgers.

"The other guys started to get some minutes under their belt; (Roberto) Firmino, Emre Can, boys that have come back a bit later. It was pleasing all round.

"It finished off our pre-season preparations - a number of guys needed a game today. It was a really good exercise."

Swindon - who missed out on promotion to the Championship last season after a 4-0 defeat to Preston North End in the League One play-off final - matched a strong Liverpool side in an evenly contested first half, before Liverpool went in front three minutes after the break.

After neat build-up play, the ball popped up to Benteke, who controlled on his chest before rifling an unstoppable volley past Swindon 'keeper Lawrence Vigouroux.

Swindon responded and stunned Liverpool just after the hour mark.

Former Tottenham striker John Obika picked up a pass on the right hand side of the penalty area before cutting inside and finishing past visiting 'keeper Adam Bogdan.

The League One side looked as if they would hold on for a draw but Liverpool, who'd just returned from a pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia, struck three minutes from time through 18-year-old English winger Sheyi Ojo after he was played in by Kolo Toure.

Rodgers also handed a debut to Brazilian international forward Firmino, who was snapped up from German side Hoffenheim earlier this summer, and was pleased with his 67-minute contribution.

"You see his quality. He is really bright on the ball, has got wonderful technique and has got the ability to want to get forward and score a goal," said the Liverpool boss.

"For those players it was just getting them into that game situation, which is never easy as they have only been back a week or so. But they adapted and coped very well.

"The players have been brilliant, they have travelled all around the world and never complained once, just got on with their work. Today, on a really hot day, they adapted very well."

Rodgers and Liverpool will be pleased to end pre-season on a high ahead of their Premier League opener at Stoke City next Sunday.


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