Football: Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool prepared for Benteke backlash

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English Football League Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Oct 25, 2016.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English Football League Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Oct 25, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (Reuters) - Jurgen Klopp returns to the scene of one his Liverpool side's most controversial victories of last season this Saturday with the man who fashioned it lining up against him.

Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park last March with a stoppage-time penalty from Christian Benteke, which an angry Palace manager Alan Pardew believed was a dive.

That did not stop Pardew paying Liverpool £32 million (S$54.28 million) for his services last summer and Benteke will feel he has a point to prove on Saturday having rarely had a chance to show his worth at Liverpool. He scored 10 goals in 42 appearances for the Reds.

Pardew hinted at what Liverpool can expect from a striker keen to add to his three goals this season.

"When you've not had the opportunity you think you deserves, it's natural to be up for this game," Pardew said on Friday.

Klopp expects a typically muscular performance from the 25-year-old Belgian.

"We know him best as we had him all the time in training," Klopp said on Friday. "Every player needs the space to develop and show things. Palace bought the player. In the last year he always showed his qualities, especially good at heading."

That assessment is born out by this season's statistics, which show that Benteke has won more headers - 9.1 per 90 minutes - than anyone else who has played five Premier League games or more, in a side who supply more crosses than any other.