Klopp: Benteke important, Mignolet perfect

Dave Bowers

Jurgen Klopp insists Christian Benteke does have a future at Liverpool – and says Simon Mignolet is ‘perfect’ for the club.

Benteke has been on the bench for three of the last four games, despite being the club’s only recognised striker following injuries to Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings and Divock Origi.

The 25-year-old is expected to lead the line in Wednesday’s FA Cup replay against Exeter, and Klopp says Liverpool need to learn how to play to Benteke’s strengths.

“He needs to stay cool – of course he has a future here,” said Klopp.

“We don’t score enough goals, so I understand why you ask about the striker – in your mind the only striker we have. He is on the bench and that seems to be strange, but not in my opinion.

“We have to think about how we create chances. First of all we cannot hope that we can get the ball into the box and then maybe Christian will finish it.

“He always has the possibility to play, but you have to look how it fits. For example we had games with Roberto (Firmino) and Christian at No.10 and No.9. It did not work but that does not mean we can never play like this.

“To have Christian on the bench is a quality sign.”

Elsewhere, Simon Mignolet has committed his long-term future to Liverpool by signing a new contract at Anfield.

The goalkeeper’s performances have come under scrutiny this season, with reports suggesting Klopp was keen on replacing the 27-year-old.

However, the German has defended Mignolet and believes he is an ‘important’ player for the club.

“Simon was, as is normal for a goalkeeper, involved in goals we have conceded, but we thought about it all and as a package, Simon Mignolet is perfect,” he said.

“He is a smart guy and young enough to develop the things he has to develop.

“He gives the whole team a good feeling when he is in the starting line up and that’s really important.

“We thought about it and decided we were all sure that we wanted to work with him over the next years.”