Liverpool fans are divided over the imminent arrival of Christian Benteke, who is expected to lead Liverpool's forward line next season. Liverpool have met the £32.5million release clause in the Belgium international's contract at Aston Villa, which makes him the second most expensive signing for Liverpool.
Benteke also brings back memories of Andy Carroll -- in terms of the transfer fee -- who was bought for a staggering sum of £35 million in 2011, Liverpool's most expensive signing so far in club history.
Carroll was surely a panic buy after Fernando Torres' departure to Chelsea, but make no mistake Brendan Rodgers had outlined Benteke as his number one priority summer target even before the transfer window began.
Benteke's performance will have a direct impact on Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool career.
Liverpool are no longer a club which every player wants to join and add to that the team's absence from the Champions League, top players have to think twice (may be even thrice) before signing for the club.
There were other top options available in the market such as Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain and Alexandre Lacazette, but they were out of reach for Liverpool without Champions League football. With Manchester City signing Raheem Sterling for £49miliion, they had the money in the bank to buy top strikers.
But, Brendan Rodgers was realistic in his approach as he was assured over signing Benteke from Aston Villa as he did not have much other realistic options at his disposal. Other realisitc options included QPR's Charlie Austin and Fernando Llorente of Juventus.
Liverpool were in need of a striker, who could slot goals for them, as it was a huge concern for the Reds last season, despite signing Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert. Both proved to be a massive failure and with Benteke at Anfield, Balotelli and Lambert may be a story of the past.
Rodgers' desperation to sign Benteke was understandable when Manchester United also began to show an interest. There was no way that Liverpool would allow their big rivals to sign their number one target this summer.
After Manchester United's interest, Rodgers, who was earlier not willing to meet the release clause, decided to pull the trigger, match the buyout clause and bring Benteke to Anfield. This also reflects the unwavering support of Liverpool owners – Fenway Sports Group (FSG) - to Rodgers, who seems to have followed the FSG guidelines of acquiring young players.
Benteke has been playing in the English Premier League for a few years, but yet he is just 24 years and fits Liverpool's bill perfectly. He has the much-needed experience to take that big jump to an elite club.
Rodgers has been given a chance by FSG yet again, after last season's failure in terms of signings, to acquire players of his choice and this signing of Benteke, in particular, could make or break Rodgers' Liverpool career.
There is no doubt about Benteke and his skills as a striker, for he has proven himself in the Premier League with Aston Villa. His goalscoring record has been decent with 49 goals from 101 matches. It is this goal record, which has prompted Brendan Rodgers to sign the player.
Considering Liverpool's quality for the new season, after the signings of Roberto Firmino and James Milner, and add to it the quality of passes, which will be fed by Phillipe Coutinho, to Benteke, the Belgian forward should be amongst the goals. If not, the axe will inch closer to Rodgers.
Liverpool fans are not sure as to how Benteke will fit into Reds' style of play as Rodgers believes in playing 'tiki-taka' football. Liverpool are not a team, which will fiz-in the big crosses from either wings.
Hence, Liverpool might be forced to play a 4-3-3 with Benteke as the main man and Sturridge and Coutino on either wings, or else they could also go with 4-4-2 and use two strikers (Benteke and Sturridge) up front.
Irrespective of what formation was adopted last season, Liverpool failed to come up with the goals, despite having a lion's share of possession for the majority of their matches. With Benteke, one can expect goals if given a chance. Half chances can be converted into goals by the striker, who makes his presence count inside the box.
Liverpool will benefit to a huge extent from Benteke, especially when they play against teams such as Stoke City and Chelsea, who play a strong physical game and do not mind parking the bus as well.
One needs no rocket scientist to explain Rodgers wanted Benteke at all costs and if Liverpool do not finish in the top four next season, the manager might have to accept the fact that he cannot change Liverpool's fortunes and FSG could be forced to part ways with the manager, who has been given huge support despite not winning a single piece of silverware in his Liverpool career, which started three seasons ago.