Benteke to start afresh at Palace

Belgian leaves after falling behind in strikers' pecking order with Danny Ings set to follow suit

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrating with Sadio Mane after the 4-3 victory over Arsenal in their English Premier League opener last Sunday.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrating with Sadio Mane after the 4-3 victory over Arsenal in their English Premier League opener last Sunday.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Liverpool have finally reached an agreement for the sale of Christian Benteke to Crystal Palace and opened the door for Danny Ings to depart Anfield.

The clubs have settled on a fee of £27 million (S$47.6 million) plus £5 million in add-ons for the Belgian, who signed for Liverpool for about £32.5 million in July last year.

Benteke, 25, has travelled to London for his medical check-up after personal terms were agreed. Palace had an offer of £23 million, plus add-ons, rejected earlier this week.

The deal came on the day when Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the England striker needed to be playing regularly as he continued his recovery from injury.

Possibly following him out is Ings, who signed from Liverpool last summer only to suffer a cruciate-ligament injury half a dozen games into his Anfield career.

He made his comeback in the final game of last season, but was not selected in the match-day squad for the 4-3 English Premier League victory over Arsenal last Sunday.

Klopp's starting XI did not include a striker, with the Brazilian Roberto Firmino playing in a "false nine" position.

The Reds continue their campaign against Ings' old club and newly promoted Burnley today, but Klopp could not confirm a spot for the player who scored 11 league goals for the Clarets in 2014-15.

"I like Danny, really," Klopp said.

"I talked to him last week and I said in my opinion it makes more sense if he can collect game time, if he can play. What he did, he scored a goal (for Liverpool's Under-23 side) and that's all good, but the situation here is as it is."

As well as Firmino, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi are ahead of Ings in Klopp's striking thoughts.

Mario Balotelli remains on the books but is widely expected to leave and join Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers.

"We have to build a squad where everybody has a perspective to play," Klopp said. "Every player needs to work and be available and then I make decisions, that's how it is. The most comfortable decision for me would be that the decisions are really difficult to make. That's a manager's life."

The German is also relieved that Sadio Mane's freak training ground injury will not keep him out for long with the forward possibly in contention for today's trip to Burnley.

The Senegal international was taken to hospital after landing awkwardly on his shoulder in an accidental challenge on Wednesday morning. But the problem proved to be nothing more serious than a muscle impact injury.

"It's not that serious. These things will happen and you can't avoid this. At first it wasn't too good but now all is okay," Klopp said.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2016, with the headline 'Benteke to start afresh at Palace'. Print Edition | Subscribe