Player profile

Christian Benteke

Christian Benteke

Birthdate: 3 December 1990
Birthplace: Kinshasa, Zaire
Nationality: Belgium
Other clubs: Genk (2007-09), Standard Liege (2009-11), Kortrijk (2009-10, loan), Mechelen (2009-10, loan), Genk (2011-12), Aston Villa (2012-15), Crystal Palace (2016-)
Bought from: Aston Villa
Signed for LFC: £32.5m, 22.07.2015
International debut: 19 May 2010 vs. Bulgaria
International caps: 33/12 (5/0 at LFC) - 06.05.2017
Liverpool debut: 09.08.2015
Last appearance: 18.05.2016
Debut goal: 17.08.2015
Last goal: 11.05.2016
Contract expiry: 20.02.2016
Win ratio: 40.48% W:17 D:11 L:14
Games/goals ratio: 4.2
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 9 / 7
LFC league games/goals: 29 / 9
Total LFC games/goals: 42 / 10

Player profile

A saga that rumbled on for much of the summer of 2015 finally came to a conclusion in the closing days of July when Belgian-born striker Christian Benteke signed a contract with Liverpool after weeks of rumours and counter-rumours when the main stumbling point was not Benteke’s desire to leave Villa Park but his club’s insistence that no deal could take place unless the full asking price of £32.5million was met. In the end Liverpool Football Club was prepared to pay that huge price to add to its squad a man who had scored 42 Premier League goals for Villa in the three seasons in which he had been employed by the Midlands club. Having lost the goals of Suarez and the injury-prone Sturridge as well as losing the services of 2014/15’s top two scorers (Gerrard and Sterling), the purchase of Benteke was a clear statement of intent to other Premier League clubs that Liverpool was still in good shape to compete for the major prizes in the game.

Born in the Republic of Zaire Benteke had only played professionally in Belgium before moving to England in 2012. He played youth football for both Standard Liège and Genk before signing a contract with the latter club on his 17th birthday and playing in seven league matches towards the end of the 2007/08 season. But he only played three times for Genk in the following season before moving to Standard Liège in January 2009. Three goals in nine league matches for Standard in the remaining months of the season suggested that the move had been good for both player and club but he was loaned out to KV Kortrijk for the 2009/10 season and that was where his career really took off with 15 goals and 9 assists from 36 matches during his spell with the Flanders club. Perhaps surprisingly Standard chose not to use him in 2010/11 and sent him out on loan again, this time to Mechelen, where his goals-per-game ratio was again good before his parent club sold him to his original club, Racing Club Genk. 19 league goals from 37 matches in little more than a season for Genk established his reputation as a European striker of quality so it wasn’t a major surprise when Aston Villa signed him up on the final day of the summer transfer-window of 2012.

A change of country and culture made no difference to a man now three-quarters of the way through his 22nd year. He adapted effortlessly to the English game and 23 goals from 39 first-team matches in his first season with Villa was proof of that. Villa struggled to score goals in the next two seasons and the Belgian’s form was up and down. But he came good in the closing stages of 2014/15 and scored 11 times in 11 matches, including a hat-trick in a frenetic 3-3 draw against Queens Park Rangers at Villa Park. Rangers eventually went down but Benteke’s goals definitely helped keep Villa up as they stumbled to 17th place just three points ahead of relegated Hull City.

The first sign that the striker was unhappy with life at Villa Park came when the players returned for pre-season training in the summer of 2013 and he submitted a transfer request only one year after signing a four-year contract. He withdrew that request after speaking to his manager (Paul Lambert) and seemed to settle down again to do what he did best, scoring goals. His form was pretty good but he suffered a serious ankle injury in April 2014 and that ruled him out of that summer’s World Cup tournament in Brazil and he wasn’t fit enough to return for his club again until early in October. Villa’s narrow escape from relegation led to intense speculation about the big striker’s future but Villa were adamant that he would not be sold unless the buying club paid the sum that was mentioned in the release clause in the player’s contract. In July just days after receiving a massive fee from Manchester City for Raheem Sterling Liverpool agreed to pay the fee that Villa were asking for.

Benteke arrived at Liverpool as a proven goalscorer who at the age of twenty-four ought to have his best years ahead of him; and a man who has scored five times against Liverpool including two when Villa won 3-1 at Anfield in December 2012 and the equaliser in the most recent meeting of the two clubs, the April 2015 FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. Benteke also scored at Anfield in January 2014 in another match the home team failed to win. Some or all of those performances almost certainly influenced the members of Liverpool’s Transfer Committee when they were looking at new players to bring in to replace the goals lost by players who had left the club in the preceding twelve months. Benteke's strengths as a player were however clearly not suited to Liverpool's style of play and his self confidence seemed to vanish after a somewhat good start to his Liverpool career. He scored a terrific overhead kick against Manchester United and had a total of four goals after his first nine matches. Benteke had clearly problems in adapting to Liverpool's counter attack policy and using the ball on the ground instead of getting passes from the flanks that tended to get the best out of him with his other clubs. Benteke became a pale imitation of Mario Balotelli as he seemed disinterested and lazy while on the field. Liverpool recouped the majority of the fee they spent on him thanks to Crystal Palace who was in dire need of a goalscorer and there is no doubt that the London club is a much better fit for the Belgian where he will undoubtedly be on the goal trail very soon.

Appearances per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 29 4 2 7 0 42
2015-2016 29 4 2 7 0 42

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
4 West Ham United
3 Manchester United
3 Stoke City
2 Chelsea
2 Manchester City
2 Southampton
2 Norwich City
2 Leicester City
2 Arsenal
2 Watford
2 Crystal Palace
2 Exeter City
2 Villarreal
2 Swansea City
2 Rubin
1 Sevilla
1 Bordeaux
1 Bournemouth
1 Newcastle United
1 Sunderland
1 Aston Villa
Total Started/substitutions
20 Started
7 On the bench
22 Substitute
3 Substituted
Total Competition
29 England Premier League
7 Europa League
4 FA Cup
2 League Cup

Goals per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 9 0 0 1 0 10
2015-2016 9 0 0 1 0 10

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

Total Started/substitutions
4 Started
6 Substitute
Total Competition
9 England Premier League
1 Europa League
Total Goal minute period
1 16-30 minutes
1 31-45 minutes
1 46-60 minutes
2 61-75 minutes
5 76-90 minutes
Total Open play/Penalty
9 Open play
1 Penalty

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 09.08.2015 Stoke City Britannia St. League

Milestone Goals

# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 26 17.08.2015 Bournemouth Anfield League

Other Clubs

Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Genk 2007-2008 Belgian Pro League 7 1 7 1
Genk 2008-2009 Belgian Pro League 3 0 3 0
Standard Liege 2008-2009 Belgian Pro League 9 3 11 3
Standard Liege 2009-2010 Belgian Pro League 5 0 5 0
Kortrijk 2009-2010 Belgian Pro League 34 14 38 16
Standard Liege 2010-2011 Belgian Pro League 4 1 9 1
Mechelen 2010-2011 Belgian Pro League 18 6 20 7
Genk 2011-2012 Belgian Pro League 32 16 33 16
Genk 2012-2013 Belgian Pro League 5 3 8 4
Aston Villa 2012-2013 England Premier League 34 19 39 23
Aston Villa 2013-2014 England Premier League 26 10 28 11
Aston Villa 2014-2015 England Premier League 28 13 33 15
Crystal Palace 2016-2017 England Premier League 36 15 40 17
Total 241 101 274 114