Brendan Rodgers believes Christian Benteke’s game-winning display against Bournemouth on Monday highlighted the qualities that made him so keen to bring the striker to Anfield this summer.
The 24-year-old marked his home debut for the Reds with the only goal of the game, turning in a deep Jordan Henderson center from close range midway through the first half.
It capped a fine night’s work for Benteke, who displayed his strength and power to compete with the visiting defence, while also demonstrating touches of finesse to lay the ball off to his teammates.
“I thought he was a real handful tonight — you saw all the facets of his game,” Rodgers enthused in his postgame press conference. “His hold-up play is outstanding, he’s got a wonderful touch for a big guy and you saw that this evening. He can help the ball on to areas, he can take the ball in, control and switch the game, his touch is good and you see him linking and combining.
“There was one moment when the ball came into the box –- which is one of the reasons we looked to bring him in –- and because of his strength and power, he tried to make contact with it. It dropped and we had a chance with Coutinho to then shoot.
“In my time here, that has never really happened, and the ball has come in and maybe been cleared out, but because of his physicality and contact, he keeps the ball alive in a dangerous area of the field.
“That will really help and once the players get used to seeing and working with that, it’ll offer us more opportunities to score goals.
“It gives us a different dimension to our game, whilst looking to retain that philosophy to move the ball and get fluency. That will come and grow over the coming months.”
Liverpool were made to work hard for the three points by a Bournemouth team who showed no signs of being overawed by their first away day in the Barclays Premier League.
Nevertheless, Benteke’s strike means the Reds have picked up a maximum haul of points from their opening two matches of 2015-16 — and without conceding a goal.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@premierleague