Tuesday 20 March 2018

Liverpool will only listen to 'real offers' for Christian Benteke - Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool striker Christian Benteke, pictured, will not be sold cheaply
Liverpool striker Christian Benteke, pictured, will not be sold cheaply

Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will not sell Christian Benteke below his value and the striker will not be a "present" for potential suitors.

The Belgium international - the latest to return to Merseyside of all the Euro 2016 participants - has yet to feature for the Reds in pre-season, and Klopp has made it clear the 25-year-old's chances will be limited.

Crystal Palace had a £25million bid rejected last month but have not followed up their interest with a second offer.

However, despite Benteke falling behind Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings, Divock Origi, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in the pecking order, Klopp is adamant he will not be allowed to leave on the cheap.

"Christian already said it maybe makes sense for him to go to another club and that's the situation at this moment," said Klopp.

"Christian is a still a great striker and that's how it is, but we have a few more strikers and in this moment it makes more sense to give them match time and that is what we did.

"If there are clubs that want a striker from us they have to make real offers and are not hoping for anything else, otherwise we will find solutions.

"If there is a need on the other side then go for it - but not as a present. That's how transfers are. A few clubs try to gamble but we are not part of the gambling side. We are serious people, and if there is an offer we will think about it.

"We will see what happens but at the end if someone wants a player from us he has to pay as we have only good players."

Klopp has brought in seven players this summer but accepts his business may not yet be finished.

He is still looking for a left-back having failed to secure Leicester's Ben Chilwell, while injuries to Mamadou Sakho and Joe Gomez may force him into seeking cover at centre-back.

"The final word we will have about this is on August 31, until then you always have to be ready to do something on the selling side... the buying side," he added ahead of Saturday's Wembley friendly against Barcelona.

"The squad is good apart from the centre-half situation: 'Mama' is a problem, Joe Gomez is a problem, Lucas Leiva is a problem. We have to see what happens with injuries so you need to be ready to find a solution.

"Everyone knows on the other (selling) side knows it is not finished. For the moment, and until the first game, maybe one or two things can happen."

Liverpool are without new goalkeeper Loris Karius (broken hand) and Lucas (hamstring) but Joel Matip has recovered from an ankle problem and midfielder Marko Grujic has been given the all-clear after sustaining concussion in the friendly against Chelsea and missing the Reds' other two matches in America.

Those injuries spoiled Klopp's pre-season but with two friendlies left - Liverpool travel to play his former side Mainz on Sunday after the Barcelona game - he insists he has not made any decisions about his squad for the opening Premier League fixture against Arsenal.

"It is football and everything can happen in one week so it is not like the team who faces Barcelona is the team who will start against Arsenal," he said.

"The team against Mainz will not be fighting for 12 to 18 (places). My door is open.

"I want to see all potential and fitness at this moment and a working attitude in a situation like this. Until now there is no decision about the line-up."

Meanwhile, 19-year-old midfielder Allan has joined Hertha Berlin on a season-long loan deal.

Press Association

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