Prior to Liverpool's creditable draw against Tottenham yesterday, there was an international break. While on duty with Belgium, Christian Benteke took some time out during this international break to make a point about his lack of playing time for Liverpool. He then suffered a moderately serious knee injury that looks to have him out for at least a month.
With this injury compounding the player's comments, many Reds fans already considering the striker's position in the team as tenuous have more or less waved the white flag on the Kinshasa-born's Liverpool career.
But if there is one thing we have learned about Jürgen Klopp, it's the man runs a meritocratic operation. He'll give players every chance to improve under his tutelage, and he'll not shy away from the rougher edges of man management when it comes to getting the most out of the individual and the group.
Speaking prior to the Tottenham match, the German had a typically rational response prepared:
Maybe I should have spoken to him but it really isn't important because when he came back he was injured and now that's much more important.I have no problems with players who are not satisfied when they don't play.
It's always the same answer - it's up to the player to change the situation. For it's easy to react to things like this. I didn't read what he said to be honest. A few guys told me about it but for me there is nothing too serious about it.
When players go to their national teams, especially with the situation of Christian Benteke in Belgium, then they ask and if he'd have said: ‘I'm really happy at Liverpool and I like that I only play a few minutes' that would be strange too.
Acknowledging that an adult conversation should probably be had between coach and player is as plain an indication as we are likely to get that Christian's comments didn't slip by the gaffer. To then go on and point out that it's up to Benteke to win more minutes is also classically direct from the German manager.
And to soften it all up with the concession that the emotion from Benteke is a normal one for a guy who gets paid to compete is also a potential olive branch that the Belgian striker could grasp if he is so inclined.
All in all, masterfully addressing an issue that could have turned into a real media storm, and moving on. You go, Jürgy.