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pool in benteke swoop

Liverpool are set to trigger Christian Benteke's £32.5million release clause after changing their valuation of the Aston Villa striker.

Manager Brendan Rodgers made the Belgium international his primary target to strengthen his forward line but the club were reluctant to meet the figure needed to spark a move.

Villa were adamant they would not budge on the clause and, after selling Raheem Sterling to Manchester City in a £49million deal this week, it's understood Liverpool have now relented and will make their approach to the midlanders.

Chief executive Ian Ayre is currently in Brisbane with Rodgers and his squad for the second leg of their pre-season tour but will still handle negotiations with Villa for the purchase of the 24-year-old.

Rodgers has been keen to add some strength to his attacking options but also wants a frontline striker who can withstand the rigours of the Premier League. England international Daniel Sturridge made just 18 appearances last season after missing virtually the first five months of the season with injury.

He is likely to be sidelined until at least September after undergoing surgery on a hip problem which ended his campaign in April.

That would have left Rodgers with youngster Divock Origi, playing his first season in English football after spending last season on loan at Lille, and summer signing from Burnley Danny Ings as his two choices, having decided Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini are all surplus to requirements.

The club have invested heavily in Hoffenheim's Brazil international Roberto Firmino, who could cost them up to £29million, but he is not an out-and-out forward and so Rodgers needed to recruit someone else to play as his spearhead.