Monday 26 September 2016

Christian Benteke ready to stay and fight for Liverpool place

James Ducker

Published 14/07/2016 | 08:05

Liverpool have turned down a £25million bid from Crystal Palace for Christian Benteke.
Liverpool have turned down a £25million bid from Crystal Palace for Christian Benteke.

Christian Benteke is ready to stay and fight for his place at Liverpool with his future at Anfield still in limbo.

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Crystal Palace and West Ham United are keen to sign Benteke but Liverpool are at risk of pricing the Belgium striker out of a move by trying to recoup all of the £32.5 million they paid Aston Villa for the player last summer.

Neither Palace nor West Ham have been prepared to meet the Merseyside club’s asking price, and with negotiations at an impasse, Benteke is now hoping to force his way back into Jurgen Klopp’s plans, despite falling down the pecking order after the German’s arrival at Anfield last October.

Klopp has Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi to choose from as well as Danny Ings, who is on the comeback trail after injury, while the £34 million signing of Senegal forward, Sadio Mane, from Southampton last month has only intensified the competition for places in attack.

Liverpool want to offload Benteke and Mario Balotetti, the Italy striker, to help balance the books as Klopp pursues more signings but Benteke – who was signed by Klopp’s predecessor, Brendan Rodgers - is determined to give the manager fresh food for thought upfront in the event a transfer fails to materialise.

Benteke has returned to Belgium after a holiday in Ibiza in the wake of his country’s quarter-final defeat by Wales at the European Championship finals in France this summer and wants to make an immediate impression when he returns to Liverpool for pre-season training.

Palace and West Ham are unlikely to give up in their pursuit of Benteke and believe the 25-year-old – who has scored 51 goals in 118 Premier League matches for Villa and Liverpool - would be a valuable addition to their squads.

But the combination of Liverpool’s high valuation and the striker’s £120,000 a week wages are proving prohibitive and a deal is only likely to happen in the event of the Merseyside club lowering their demands.

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