If there’s anything that makes a player’s move official, it’s the confirmation of his squad number. Sure, signing a contract is probably the most important thing from a legal point of view, and being photographed leaning on things is the first step towards a feeling of OMG IT’S REALLY HAPPENING for fans, but the shirt number occupies a special place in fans’ hearts.
Christian Benteke has already signed and has already leaned, and all that was left was for him to be assigned a squad number. Benteke hasn’t yet featured for the Reds since joining the team, but with rumours of a potential inclusion in the side set to face Swindon Town on Sunday, Liverpool were going to have to give up the ghost sooner rather than later about what number would be added to thousands of customized kits this season.
That number is, of course, the classic number 9. Long suspected to be an obvious choice for Benteke if Liverpool managed to pry him from Aston Villa’s cold dead hands, it’s perhaps not the most startling of confirmations. The only thing keeping it from being a done deal until now was that the number 9 shirt was worn by Rickie Lambert during the small window in which the two overlapped as teammates, but now that the former Southampton man has moved to West Brom, things are falling into place for its next inhabitant.
Benteke joins a long list of famous names to wear the number 9 for Liverpool, some finding more success than others. It hasn’t been a number that’s blessed its wearers with fame or fan love since it was vacated by Fernando Torres, but if Benteke hits the ground running and puts in quality appearances regularly for the Reds, he could very well find himself listed amongst the rest of the greats to wear the 9.