Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says Christian Benteke can transform his Anfield future if he knuckles down and works hard.
The £32.5million signing from Aston Villa hasn’t started a Premier League match since January 2 following a disappointing start to his career at Liverpool.
However, Klopp says that Benteke’s recent omission from the starting line-up doesn’t necessarily mean the striker will be sold.
Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge are all ahead of the Belgian striker in the pecking order and Klopp warned it’s up to Benteke to force himself back into the reckoning.
“The situation for players is not always the sunny side of life,” the German manager said.
“Timing is everything. Christian wasn’t in the best moment of his Liverpool career four or five weeks ago. It was obvious.
“Then Daniel Sturridge came back and then we had to think about what we do. Whether to bring Daniel on as a substitute or let him start.
“The type of game gives me the best advice about what I have to do. I can’t just say ‘he needs minutes, go’. It is not pre-season. It is a real tournament all the time.
“The only thing a player, not only Christian, can do in a situation like this is first of all accept it in a positive way. Don’t think: ‘thank God I don’t have pressure on the bench’. Don’t talk about it and say: ‘I don’t know what I can do’.
“The answer is train as well as you can and he is in a really good way.”
Despite his long wait for a start, Benteke remains Liverpool’s joint top scorer this season with seven goals and the Reds boss maintains that there is still a way back for him at the club.
“It is not a perfect moment for Christian and the other side is Divock is back,” Klopp said.
“You always have to think: ‘who can I help in this moment and who can help us in this moment?’
“As a striker especially you have to work in the moment. You can come in, play well and score and it will change immediately.
“It is not a decision for the future, it is only a decision for now. That is not too funny I’m sure for him.
“Of course that is how it is. The only thing is to work, there is no alternative.”