No matter how expensive or experienced a player is, starting well can help him settle quickly as well as focusing on what he can bring to his new team. This isn't a hidden and ground-breaking observation, of course, but it's illuminating to see how an impressive home debut can stir greater optimism among passionate Reds. I was fortunate enough to be at Anfield to witness Christian Benteke in action on Monday, and the Belgian did more than just score. Often players are hailed after scoring a goal during a mediocre performance, but it was heartening to witness a player with such an expansive all-round game.
Unlike Tim Sherwood, Brendan Rodgers had no doubt about Benteke's playing style. The manager who probably knew the player's game better than anybody else, Paul Lambert, also shared his confidence in the suitability of Benteke for Liverpool. There's still work to do in developing the understanding between the former Aston Villa striker and his new team-mates, but the signs are promising. Robbie Fowler, a player who more than proved his worth as a striker during his days in luxurious Liverpool Red, told the Liverpool Echo that Benteke offers new possibilities for Merseyside's finest.
"It's been a great start for Benteke and that goal will do him the world of good," Fowler said of the Belgian international's early contributions for Liverpool. "When you join a new club you want to hit the ground running and that will ease a few nerves. It probably shouldn't have counted with Philippe Coutinho standing in an offside position but as a striker you take a bit of luck like that.
"With Benteke in the side, we've probably seen more longer balls than we've been used to from Liverpool. But there is no perfect way of playing. I'm one of those who doesn't go on about whether we should play the long ball or the short ball, it's about the right ball. I've got no problem with playing it long if it's the best ball on and when you've got someone like Benteke up front that's going to be the right ball at times. Having Benteke up there gives you the option of being able to mix it up. He's strong in the air and wins the flick-ons but he can also play with the ball at his feet and create space for others. He has the ability to hold it up and bring team-mates into play."
If Benteke can help Liverpool to a positive result in another Monday fixture, he would certainly go some way to banish the striking struggles of last season before the international break.