Sunday’s defeat to Swansea may have been bad, but striker Christian Benteke is hoping there’s a silver lining to be found in a 3-1 defeat at Liberty Stadium. Namely, he’s hoping that his goal is a sign of things to come; that it might be a sign of more goals and more minutes and become his Liverpool lifeline.
"It’s frustrating because when you score for 2-1, everything seems possible," reflected the big Belgian, who has struggled to find a place at Anfield after his £32.5M move from Aston Villa last summer. "You can come back. You can win the game. But they scored straight off and it was hard to come back then with ten men."
When he was first introduced, as has so often been the case, Benteke seemed to only take up the wrong areas, repeatedly dropping deep and closing off room for the attack as it surged forward. He constantly demanded the ball but was rarely well positioned to receive it, and there were signs of frustration in his teammates.
In the end, though, he did what was expected of him on the goal, his first in two months, positioning himself in the box well to power home a header. Unfortunately, Swansea’s instant response meant there was no chance to see if that goal would have led to some better play from open play for the struggling target man.
"I’m happy to score, obviously, but the main thing is the three points and we didn’t get them," he continued. "But I’m feeling good now and I’m going to work hard and fight until the end. Everyone wants to play now [against Villarreal] and we will all be sharper and more focused for such an important game."
Benteke surprised many when he and not Daniel Sturridge came off the bench in the first leg against Villarreal, but despite that appearance and his goal on Sunday, the expectation remains that Roberto Firmino will be the man leading the line on Thursday if Sturridge isn’t ready to go again after playing 90 on Sunday.