Monday 11 December 2017

Luckless Benteke to miss one month with knee injury

Liverpool's Christian Benteke in action. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Liverpool's Christian Benteke in action. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Matt Law

Christian Benteke's luckless Liverpool career has taken another grim turn after he was ruled out until May with a knee injury.

The Belgian was injured on international duty and, having undergone a scan, will be absent for four weeks due to slight ligament damage.

That gives him little time to end his season - and possibly his short Liverpool career - on a high note after a frustrating period.

The £32.5 million striker has suffered on and off the pitch since last summer's move from Aston Villa, initially struggling with injury and then unable to impress himself on manager Jürgen Klopp.

Benteke has vowed to fight on to convince the manager but openly admitted his frustration for the first time recently, unsure at why he has found himself down the pecking order.

Any hopes he had of making an impression in the climax of the season now look slim. Liverpool have a Europa League quarter-final tie with Borussia Dortmund to try to keep their trophy-winning chances alive this season, but beyond that, a fight for a top-six position appears to be the most on offer domestically.

Benteke will have a decision to make at the end of the season if he feels there is no prospect of being a regular starter next year.

The only relief for Benteke is that his knee injury is not serious, so he could still feature again this season.

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettinio has warned the Premier League's traditional top clubs that this season is no flash in the pan as his Tottenham side try to put pressure on leaders Leicester City at Anfield tonight.

Leicester are five points ahead of second-placed Spurs, with one of the Manchester clubs almost certain to miss out on the top four along with reigning champions Chelsea.

And Pochettino thinks it not will get any easier for those clubs or third-placed Arsenal as the Premier League's new television deal will reduce the gap between clubs even further.

"You cannot guess because football is changing," he said. "Today the teams that are at the bottom compared to last season, they improve a lot, invest a lot of money and they reduce the gap with the teams at the top.

"In the future the Premier League will be even more competitive and the teams who are at the bottom will improve a lot because the financial situation changed. It is different with Spain, Italy or France, where the gap is massive, but here it will be more tough competition between the teams. This is good for English football."

Liverpool v Tottenham, live, Sky Sports 1, 5.30

Irish Independent

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