Liverpool new boy Christian Bentekes match-winning performance against AFC Bournemouth summed up why the club signed the Belgium international, according to manager Brendan Rodgers. The 24-year-old marked his full home debut with the only goal as the Reds secure their second win of the campaign against Eddie Howes newly promoted side.
The goal was not without controversy however after the Anfield officials failed to spot Philippe Coutinhos attempts to connect with Jordan Hendersons cross, while in an offside position, before Benteke poked beyond the helpless Artur Boruc at the back post. The 26th-minute goal had followed referee Craig Pawson ruling out Tommy Elphicks early header, leaving the Cherries rueing the injustice.
Rodgers said of the decisions, according to the Liverpool Echo: I havent seen either of them again, we obviously had a good period of pressure leading up to the goal. The offside ruling has changed again so it adds complication, at the managers meeting is was said the advantage would be with the attacker, so thankfully the goal counted and were happy to get the win.
Little could distract from Bentekes big night, as he began to repay Liverpools reported £32.5m ($51m) investment [according to Sky Sports], the second highest fee paid by the club, in style. The former Aston Villa player produced an otherwise impressive display at the pivot of the hosts attack and could have grabbed a home debut double had he not struck the bar late.
Rodgers was meanwhile delighted with the display, which he felt highlighted all the reasons why Liverpool were happy to spend bid on the players. He was a real handful tonight; you saw all the facets of his game, he said. His hold-up play is outstanding, he has a wonderful touch for a big guy, he can help the ball on to areas, take it in, control the game, switch the game.
His touch was good, you saw him link and combine [with his teammates]. There was one moment the ball came into the box, and it was one of the reasons we looked to bring him in.
With his strength and power, he tried to make the contact with it – but it dropped and we had a chance for Coutinho to then shoot. In my time here, that hasnt really happened. Balls have come in and been cleared out, but because of his physicality, he keeps the ball alive in dangerous areas of the field.
Once the players get used to seeing that and working with that, that offers more opportunities to score goals. It gives us a different dimension to the game, while looking to retain the philosophy to move the ball and get that fluency. But that will come over the coming months.