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Benteke as Good as Gone After Claiming He’s “Been Discarded” by Klopp

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If there was any doubt before that Christian Benteke's time at Liverpool was nearing its end, there isn't now that the striker who can't finish has opened up to the press about being "discarded" by the manager.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Christian.
Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Christian.
Michael Steele/Getty Images

When Liverpool fans saw striker Christian Benteke run clear on goal in the second half on Sunday, they would have been justified thinking he was probably going to miss the chance that would have put his side up 3-1 and stopped Southampton building momentum.

After all, while no Liverpool player has created more big chances in the league this year, Benteke has one of the lowest conversion rates on the team—he has only scored on 20% of his OPTA-defined non-penalty big chances. Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino, on the other hand, have each converted more than 60% of theirs.

Despite his generally poor finishing since he arrived at Liverpool and that he seems not to fit with how the rest of the team or manager Jürgen Klopp want to play, though, Benteke himself claims to not understand why he isn't getting more chances. And it's something that's only going to push him closer to the exit.

"I've played two full matches in a row since Klopp arrived," began Benteke. "I went up against Leicester, I scored, I followed up with a game and a goal to Sunderland. Then we lost to West Ham and since then I have been discarded. Even my father was annoyed at first by my status as a reserve.

"I spoke with (Eden) Hazard and (Marouane) Fellaini, and they gave me the same answer: when a coach does not count on you, you cannot change anything. The thing that is annoying is that I had prepared to transfer to Liverpool. I never would have signed if I had not been the priority of the coach."

Benteke was the priority of Liverpool's last coach, Brendan Rodgers, but even at the time very few fans really understood why—especially when he had a £32.5M price tag. It wasn't that people thought Benteke was a bad striker. Just that he was a poor fit for Liverpool and massively overpriced on top of that.

The club's transfer committee agreed, and when Villa refused to be interested in a bid in the low £20M range, they wanted to turn their attentions to Sevilla's Carlos Bacca instead. Rodgers, though, pushed hard for Benteke, and Benteke saw a manager desperate to have him and embraced the possibility of the move.

Meanwhile, despite that he misses more big chances than he scores and that he seems not to be on the same page as his teammates or the new manager, Benteke seems insistent that he's doing things right. That he's the pressing, moving, goal scoring striker Liverpool and the club's fans so desperately want and need.

"He told me he wanted me to be more involved in the game and yet it seems to me that this is one of my qualities," Benteke added of what Klopp has told him to do if he wants to see the pitch more often. "I like to combine, but perhaps I do not do the right calls, that my teammates do not find me. I have considered his remarks.

"I told myself I had to adapt and change my style of play, but then I remembered that Liverpool bought me for my qualities. The ideal situation is to keep my identity while trying to adapt to the style of the coach. And if that does not work, it does not work."