Although the easy money seems to be on Daniel Sturridge returning to the starting eleven for the first leg of Liverpool’s Round of 16 clash with Manchester United in the Europa League on Thursday, there’s been a few calls for Jurgen Klopp to throw a curve ball to their age old foes and start Christian Benteke instead.
“Most will be expecting Daniel Sturridge to come back in, but you never know what condition he’s in,” said Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas in his column. “Christian Benteke should be the one banging on Jurgen Klopp’s door demanding the chance to play against this United defence,” continued the former Celtic forward, reminding us of the spectacular over-head he scored at Old Trafford earlier in the season. “He’s just scored a big goal which could be the corner turned. The way he took that penalty tells me he’s up to the challenge of proving he can still make a big contribution.”
Despite only having 10-minutes on the pitch, the big Belgian drew a penalty and bagged the winner from the spot as the Reds came from behind to take full points against Crystal Palace at the weekend. Earlier this week Benteke confirmed that he’ll be looking to fight for his spot at Anfield even though a lack of playing time could not only impact his chances with the national team, but see him labeled a flop after moving from Aston Villa for £32.5mil last summer.
“Yeah [the price tag is] hard, because I know everything that I’m going to do people are going to talk about the money,” the 25-year old told ESPN. “But as long I’m all right with me, with myself, and I try to work hard for my team, that’s the main thing,” explained Benteke. “It’s not the season that I was expecting, but it’s football, and you have some good times and some bad times and you have to deal with them.”