Jürgen Klopp has a goal scoring problem. To be honest, it was a problem Brendan Rodgers also had, but for Klopp it’s a little different.The biggest issue might be Daniel Sturridge and his inability to stay healthy, because, beyond Sturridge, Klopp doesn’t have the kind of striker he needs.
Liverpool spent a lot of money this summer on Christian Benteke, and he’s a good player. Despite this, he might not be the kind of player Klopp needs in his high tempo, quick counter style of play. It’s now January, so questions and rumors are the business of the day. So the question is, should Klopp look for a new striker, or can Benteke turn into the kind of player his manager wants?
In Saturday’s loss to West Ham, no player that played for 90 minutes ran less than Benteke. That won’t cut it with Klopp. If Benteke wants to keep his place he’s going to have to do more. Klopp even admitted as much saying that the team can not play with a striker that scores a goal, but isn’t involved much the rest of the match.
Christian Benteke's game by numbers: 0 shots on target 75% pass accuracy 0 take-ons 15% aerial duels won (2/13) Not at his best.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 2, 2016
In Klopp’s managerial career, he’s been spoiled with some truly great center fowards. Robert Lewandowski is one of the best strikers in the world, and he’s versitle, coming out to collect the ball and drifting in and out of position. Pierre-Emerik Aubameyang is one of the fastest players in the world, and a great threat to score on any counter. Klopp managed to get a great deal out of both players during his time with Dortmund. Lewandowski took him to a Champions League Final on the back of a four goal performance against Real Madrid.
That kind of dynamic center forward is what Klopp craves. He has it in Sturridge and Divock Origi, both players play with the enough energy that perfectly suits the kind of team Klopp prefers. The problem is that neither of those two players have shown much ability to stay on the pitch and off the trainers table. As such, Klopp is left to rely on Benteke, a classic goal poacher that doesn’t tend to stray too far from his home around he penalty spot.
In no way is Benteke a bad player. He’s big, strong, good in the air, and a great finisher. But under Klopp, he’s in a system that requires the striker to run, and to help win the ball back. Benteke needs to change his game. If not, he’s going to find himself starting on the bench. Currently, he’s more suited to a long ball, cross it into the box kind of game plan. Klopp’s high tempo heavy metal football could be asking too much for Benteke.
Klopp now has to find a solution to this problem. When back at Dortmund, there were rumors that Klopp was interested in bringing Benteke to Germany. This suggests that Klopp sees something in Benteke. Klopp has never been one to look into the transfer market when an issue can be solved internally. That being said, Klopp has never had the kind of money he will likely have with Liverpool.
Great strikers are hard to come by. Lewandowski and Aubameyang are both great, but Bayern and Dortmund probably wont be selling either of them to Liverpool anytime soon. Ideally for Klopp, Origi and Sturridge coming back from injury will go a long way towards getting more production out of his center forwards. Without either of those two available, Klopp has to turn to Benteke. The Belgian needs to show more energy for his new manager. Otherwise Klopp will have to find another option, and that could get expensive.