Liverpool on verge of signing Christian Benteke after triggering £32.5m release clause
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 for a long time 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, Press Association Sport understands 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 prematurely 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.
Liverpool have already bought six new players, including England right-back Nathaniel Clyne at a cost of £12.5million, and Benteke's arrival would push their summer spending to around £80million despite Rodgers saying 12 months ago, after an outlay of £110million, that there would not be a huge amount of recruitment to follow.
However, the loss of Champions League status and the failure of number of last year's signings - plus the sale of Sterling - has forced a re-think.