Why Liverpool must pick Benteke over Firmino against Swansea
Christian Benteke returned to the Liverpool starting line up against Bordeaux in the Europa League this week and commemorated the occasion with a fine goal to grant the Reds a progression-sealing win.
His performance has left boss Jurgen Klopp with something of a poser ahead of Swansea’s visit to Anfield.
Does he select the Belgian battering ram to spearhead his attack? Or keep faith with makeshift line leader Roberto Firmino?
The latter put a great performance in against Manchester City in the Reds’ last league game, converting one chance and missing many more in a 4-1 victory.
The fact that he got in positions to score goals is testament to an excellent off-the-ball ability and positional awareness, but his spurning of these myriad opportunities outlines his unsuitability to command a striking berth in the long term.
However, few managers would contemplate altering a system that yielded such spectacular rewards, coupled with Benteke’s fitness concerns, will probably prompt Klopp to stick with Firmino as he attempts to down the Swans.
Liverpool are as short as 1/2 to snare the spoils against Garry Monk’s short-of-form outfit, but Benteke must start up front to give them the best chance of vindicating their favouritism.
The difference in Man City’s strategy to the one that Swansea will surely deploy will be enormous.
City obviously looked to be aggressive at home, pushing up the pitch in an attempt to control the game leaving space that Firmino proved a master at exploiting.
Monk’s men won’t be anywhere near as adventurous and in getting bodies around the box when defending will ensure the Brazilian is starved of the luxury the Citizens afforded him so recklessly.
Benteke’s physicality will prove more advantageous against such a system; he’d offer a target to hit, occupy opposition centre-backs and hold up the ball for others to run beyond.
To add further meat to his starting claims, he also boasts a respectable scoring record against the Swans, notching twice in four appearances.
He can be backed at 7/2 to improve this return by bagging the first goal of this weekend’s fixture.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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