'Christian knows he can play better' - Jurgen Klopp backs Liverpool match winner to improve
Published 31/12/2015 | 08:29
Jurgen Klopp is convinced there is much more to come from striker Christian Benteke after seeing him fire Liverpool to victory twice inside five days.
The Belgium international took his tally for the season to just seven goals, six of them in the Barclays Premier League, when he secured a 1-0 win at Sunderland after coming off the bench to do the same against then leaders Leicester on Boxing Day.
Benteke passed up a series of other glorious opportunities, including a gilt-edged chance at the death, but Klopp was satisfied with his contribution.
He said: "A striker who scores a decisive goal is always a positive thing, but I'm sure Christian knows he can play better. But at this moment, we need goals more than anything else and he did it again, so we are really satisfied."
Asked if there is more to come from the 25-year-old, Klopp replied: "Yes. That's the best news."
Benteke's decisive intervention came 22 seconds after half-time with Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone having produced a series of fine saves, including one outstanding effort to deny Roberto Firmino, to keep his side level.
There was a touch of good fortune to the goal as Adam Lallana tried to control Nathaniel Clyne's pass and succeeded in serving up the ball perfectly for the striker with Mannone powerless to resist.
Klopp said: "I'm not too much interested in that, to be honest, because it's better you decide a game early. We don't live in wonderland and wait for the special moment, we have to work for the special moment and that's what we did."
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce felt a fifth successive defeat was harsh on his team, who remain seven points adrift of safety heading into Saturday's crucial home clash with bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa.
Allardyce said: "I didn't think we deserved to lose it on the basis of how lucky their goal was. If (Philippe) Coutinho or Lallana had produced a bit of the brilliance we know they can and put it away in the back of our net, then you could hold your hands up and say, 'Yeah'.
"But when you get that stroke of luck like they got - Lallana has tried to control it, he miscontrolled it and it's flicked off his toe and run straight into Benteke's path, and even he mishit it and it bounces over Vito, so we were very unlucky there."