What’s 49 minus 32.5, and then add 6 noughts? That’s how many millions Liverpool have got left after selling Raheem Sterling to Man City and then buying Christian Benteke from Aston Villa. Ah, but then take off the millions that Liverpool have already spent on six new players, and then the Belgian’s arrival has pushed their summer spending to over £60m. Phew!
Roaring in 49 goals in 101 matches so far is obviously Red meat for the Coliseum that is Anfield. That’s a lion-hearted statistic for a top Prem striker’s CV, one who cost Villa £7m from Belgian club Genk in 2012. On Christian’s day – which wasn’t in the Cup Final against Arsenal, but was in the semi-final against Liverpool, huge hint dropped – big Benteke looks awesome. It’s stretching the point to anoint the prick by buying the thorn in your side, but the big Belgian has un-Christianly-like scored five goals in his last six matches against Liverpool. Regular Reds’ striker Daniel Sturridge’s fitness has been manager Brendan Rodgers huge concern recently, and the Northern Irishman badly needs a strong, bold striker who can lead the Reds’ attack this year in the relentless pressure of the Premier League.
Goals were certainly the problem last season, only a measly 52 when compared to the marvellous 102 banged in by the SAS: Suarez, Sturridge, Sterling & co in the halcyon days of 2013-14, when Liverpool just failed to win the title. Benteke’s arrival at Anfield means that the Reds are certainly not now short of striking strength, having earlier bought Brazilian Roberto Firmino and Burnley’s Danny Ings. On the club’s Far East tour, manager Brendan Rodgers summarised: ‘ People can see the quality of the players coming in and importantly the ones we already have. Once we get that combination together we can put out a really strong team.’
Well – that’s certainly true, Brendan, as Liverpool look mightily impressive on paper. But on grass only 11 can play at once and Rodgers hasn’t got long to blend in his newbies before the big battle starts on Sunday 9th August – ironically away at Stoke City, which was Steven Gerrard’s last game for the club and finished in a 6-1 thrashing, which set the distress sirens wailing out at Anfield. Such ignominy just cannot be seen to happen again, hence the huge buying spree. Shurrup youse (Merseyside version of Silence of the Lambs), but it’s presumed that as they didn’t travel pre-season past-it/playboy liabilities like Rickie Lambert (Norwich-bound?), Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini and Jose Enrique are yesterday’s nags and need to be off-loaded quickly to pastures new before the knackers yard beckons.