Friday 26 May 2017

Christian Benteke told to channel focus against former club Liverpool

Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke will return to Anfield on Sunday
Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke will return to Anfield on Sunday

Christian Benteke has been warned not to allow his desire to prove a point to Liverpool to affect his focus when Crystal Palace visit Anfield.

Sunday's fixture represents the striker's first there since his £27million summer transfer ended a miserable 12 months in which he struggled to establish himself despite joining for £32.5million from Aston Villa.

Following Jurgen Klopp's appointment as Brendan Rodgers' successor, Benteke became a peripheral figure who only appeared a substitute during the Europa League final and completely missed the final of the Capital One Cup.

Allardyce's arrival at Palace has since taken him close to rediscovering the confidence and form with which he impressed at Villa, becoming crucial in their bid for survival, and it is that the manager does not want him to become distracted from.

Victory on Sunday would take Palace's points total to 38, which may prove enough to preserve their Premier League status, and Allardyce said: "I don't want him to get over zealous about trying to do somethinig a bit special that may harm the team's performance.

"Trying to do that last dribble or trying to do that last flick or trick to show (Liverpool) what they might be missing. Great if it comes off, but if it doesn't it can be costly.

"If you go back to one of your old clubs you always want to show what you might be missing.

"I'd like to see him carry on playing the way he has been, certainly in the last six, seven or eight games. Since he came back from international duty, the goals are coming back.

"He's working much harder and he's creating more opportunities for himself, the players are creating more opportunities for him to score. He will want to do very well but I don't want him to lose what he's been offering the team by trying to do too much."

Allardyce plans to speak to Benteke, who has scored three goals in his past four games, before Sunday's fixture.

The terms of Mamadou Sakho's loan agreement means he is ineligible to play against his parent club, but James Tomkins has been declared fit and James McArthur and Loic Remy have also returned to contention.

Their availability comes as Palace begin a period of three matches in seven days, when they host Tottenham and then Burnley after returning from Anfield, and when the manager plans to rotate his team.

"We have got six games to save ourselves, but we want to do it as quickly as possible," said the 62-year-old.

"If we are going to do it in the next three games it will be pretty difficult, and my problem is when we come to Burnley they won't have played for a week when we play them.

"It means I am going to have to pick a side for Sunday, then a different side for Wednesday (against Spurs), and then for Saturday (against Burnley), because I certainly won't be able to play the same team for all three. We have proved that we can't cope with that."

Press Association

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport