|Date of Birth||
3 December 1990
|Place of Birth||
1.90 m (6'3")
Christian Benteke Liolo (born 3 December 1990) is a Belgian international footballer who played as a striker for Liverpool from 2015 to 2016.
Due to the underperformance of Liverpool's strikers in the 2014-15 season, Brendan Rodgers looked to rejuvenate the strike force, with Divock Origi coming back from his loan spell, and Danny Ings signing for cheap from Burnley. Next, the manager moved for a consistent Premier League goalscorer, in Benteke. Throughout the summer, there were many reports that Liverpool were to pay the striker's release clause of £32,500,000.
On 22 July 2015, it was finally confirmed that Benteke had completed his move to the club, becoming the club's second most expensive signing in history. The Belgian said "I'm very happy to be part of the Liverpool family now and I will do everything to make them happy and work hard for them and my teammates."
The striker made his Liverpool debut on 2 August 2015, in a 2-1 friendly win at Swindon. Benteke opened his Liverpool account in the game, flicking it up and spectacularly striking it past on loan Liverpool goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux. The next day, it was confirmed that the Belgian was to wear the number 9 shirt at the club, last worn by Rickie Lambert.
On 9 August 2015, Benteke made his competitive debut for the club, starting in a 1-0 win at Stoke. The striker wasn't too involved and was mainly used as a target man. Eight days later, Benteke made his home debut, and netted a controversial winning goal in a 1-0 win against Bournemouth. Jordan Henderson put the cross in, and Philippe Coutinho tried and failed to get on the end of it, distracting the keeper and allowing the Belgian to put it in. Under new Premier League rules, Coutinho should have been ruled offside, and the goal disallowed.
On 12 September 2015, Benteke started against Manchester United at Old Trafford, and scored a stunning overhead kick in the 84th minute, after Jordon Ibe's cross was deflected. He was however, on the end of a 3-1 defeat. A week later, a Benteke started with Daniel Sturridge for the first time, but was taken off at half time with a tight hamstring.
Benteke made his return on 22 October 2015, coming on as a substitute in a 1-1 draw at home to Rubin Kazan, Jurgen Klopp's first home game in charge of the club, and was unlucky not to score, striking the post. The Belgian remained on the bench in the next game, at home to Southampton, but was brought on after 45 minutes, due to Divock Origi's poor first half performance. Benteke opened the scoring after 77 minutes, with a towering header from a fantastic cross from James Milner. However, Southampton equalised with five minutes remaining, putting the score at 1-1.
On 31 October 2015, Benteke was kept to the bench, after picking up a knock in midweek. The Belgian came on at Chelsea after 62 minutes, and made a big impact. First, he headed down an assist for Philippe Coutinho's second goal, and eventually scored himself, picking the ball up on the edge of the box, and dribbling forward, before seeing his shot take a small deflection into the net. The game ended 3-1 to the visitors. On 26 November, Benteke started in a 2-1 win against Bordeaux at Anfield. The game started off poorly, as the visitors took the lead, but in a rapid response Benteke was fouled in the penalty area, allowing James Milner to score the equaliser. Benteke then scored the winning goal just before half time, controlling a cross from Nathaniel Clyne well before smashing it in from the edge of the box. The Belgian also had two goals disallowed, firstly for offside, and then for a foul on the defender.
On 26 December 2015, after coming on as an early substitute, Benteke scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over top of the league Leicester. Benteke placed a very difficult finish into the corner after a cross from Roberto Firmino. In the dying minutes however, Benteke missed an extremely easy chance to make it two, shooting straight at the only centre back with no keeper in goal. Four days later, Benteke once again scored, easily placing the ball past the keeper from close range in a 1-0 win at Sunderland. In the final minutes the Belgian missed another great chance to get his second, hitting a 1 on 1 chance straight at the goalkeeper.
On 8 January 2016, Benteke captained a very young Liverpool team to a 2-2 FA Cup draw at Exeter. The Belgian failed to get on the scoresheet, or even impress during the game.
Benteke stayed out of the main lineup for a while, with Roberto Firmino being preferred in his place. The returns of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi from injury also pushed him further down the pecking order. On 6 March 2016, Benteke came on as an 80th minute substitute while Liverpool and Crystal Palace were drawing 1-1. In the fourth minute of injury time, Benteke was fed into the box by Jordan Henderson, before being challenged by Damien Delaney. Initially, the referee saw no problem, but after consultation with the linesman, a penalty was controversially given. The Belgian stepped up and calmly slotted it into the corner, giving Liverpool their first League win at Crystal Palace since 1997. Replays of the incident clearly showed that Delaney's knee made contact with Benteke's foot, but many people still claimed that there wasn't enough contact, and that Benteke had dived.
On 1 May 2016, Benteke scored his first goal from open play since December, heading home a consolation goal from Sheyi Ojo's corner in a 3-1 defeat at Swansea. Benteke netted his tenth goal of the season on 11 May, heading home a last minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea after Asmir Begovic palmed Sheyi Ojo's cross right into the Belgian's path.
Despite this however it was clear that Benteke was not featured in Jurgen Klopp's plans for the club, and the Belgian spent the majority of the summer linked with moves away from the club, while not featuring at all in pre-season. On 20 August 2016, it was confirmed that Benteke had signed for Crystal Palace in a deal worth £32,000,000- only £500,000 less than the club paid for him. Benteke made 40 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 10 goals.
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