Klopp: ‘All strikers have spells like Benteke’

Sarah Winterburn

Jurgen Klopp has defended Christian Benteke after he had nine attempts on the West Ham goal on Tuesday night without scoring.

Liverpool exited the FA Cup at the fourth-round stage after 120 minutes at Upton Park ended with a late goal from Angelo Ogbonna.

Benteke has not scored in 2016 and has lost his place in Liverpool’s preferred Premier League line-up.

“Ask 80-90% of all strikers in the world – high-quality, low-quality, no quality – they will tell you they have times like this,” said Klopp.

“You have to carry on, you have to go on. All the people in the world want the easy goal but the easy goal doesn’t help. You have to play and improve, that’s how it always is.

“Tonight, it was a really good game without the maximum finish, that’s right but he worked a lot so that’s a big step. That’s good for us, that’s good for him.”

Klopp did manage to field Daniel Sturridge and Benteke together for an hour of football for the first time in his Liverpool reign. He could also give a run-out to returning Belgian striker Divock Origi, while Philippe Coutinho started the game and scored a free-kick.

“Tomorrow is recovery. It was great – Coutinho was back, Origi was back too – but we need consistency in the line-up. We need things that we want to change, not that we have to change. You saw the game so write what you saw, not what I say.

“We have to talk first, with Daniel and the medical staff before we make decisions about this [his next step].

“The game was a little longer than I thought because I thought we could decide it after 90 minutes but we didn’t so it was 30 minutes plus.”