Thursday 22 March 2018

Crystal Palace bid £25m for Christian Benteke as Belgian heads for Liverpool exit

Belgium's Christian Benteke
Belgium's Christian Benteke

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool have received a bid of £25 million from Crystal Palace for Christian Benteke.

The Merseyside club have indicated they want £30 million for the Belgian, but Alan Pardew has made his opening move as the striker heads for the Anfield exit.

Benteke is ready to make the switch to Selhurst Park and negotiations will now continue as the clubs look to strike a deal.

It now looks increasingly likely the 25-year-old will head to London rather than Merseyside after the European Championships.

His days have been numbered since Jurgen Klopp took over. Signed for £32.5 million from Aston Villa, he was targeted by Brendan Rodgers a year ago to try and reverse the ex-manager’s fortunes.

Once Rodgers left, the shift in tactics by Klopp never suited Benteke and he was a rare starter. On those occasions he was given a chance his was bereft of confidence.

But Liverpool know he is a quality international striker who could excel elsewhere in the Premier League, playing a style of football more suited to his strengths.

Pardew believes he is the man to get him firing again.

Many of the Liverpool squad return to training on Saturday, including Mario Balotelli and Lazar Markovic who spent last season on loan.

The England internationals who played in France will begin to filter back at the end of the month, but new signings Sadio Mane, Marko Grujic, Joel Matip and Loris Karius will meet their new team mates for the first time this weekend.

Danny Ings and Joe Gomez have been working back at Melwood during the summer as they complete their rehabilitation from knee injuries sustained at the start of last season. Ings played in the final match of the last campaign, but was determined not to lose the fitness he’d strived so hard to regain during the break.

Nevertheless, all eyes will be on the enigmatic Italian striker Balotelli. It will be the first time he has met Klopp.

If nothing else, the prospect of the striker trying to cope with one of the German coach’s training sessions will make the next few days at Melwood intriguing viewing.

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