Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has pleaded for patience over Christian Benteke, stating that Robert Lewandowski needed time before he found his shooting boots at Borussia Dortmund.
Klopp signed Lewandowski from Lech Ponan in 2010, with the Polish striker scoring nine goals in 43 games in his first season.
Lewandoswki went on to score 94 goals in 144 appearances in his final three seasons at Dortmund, earning a move to Bayern Munich as one of Europe’s leading marksman.
Benteke has endured an injury-hit spell at Liverpool since joining in the summer from Aston Villa for £32.5million, and the Belgian scored his fifth goal in 12 games in the 2-1 Europa League against Bordeaux in midweek.
Klopp has asked for patience with regards to the 24-year-old’s development, pointing to the progress of Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who also underwent similar struggles before adapting to life at the German club.
“I can tell you that I am not sure that Robert Lewandowski could have developed in the Robert Lewandowski of today in England because no one is patient enough to wait for this,” Klopp told the Liverpool Echo.
“He made eight league goals in his first year and I don’t know what you would write about him if he made eight goals in one year and played all the time: not good enough, come on, sell him.
“Aubameyang needed three years for this performance at the moment [he has scored 23 in 21 this season], so sometimes you have to work together. It is very important in football.”
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Klopp feels Benteke’s performance against Bordeaux could be a turning point for the striker, as he continues his recovery from injury.
“Of course it was important,” said Klopp. “When I came here he was injured.
“I know a lot about Christian Benteke because when he was at Aston Villa, we were interested too, everyone was interested.
“A brilliant player but like everyone else, if you are injured and come back, everyone thinks now you have to be the Benteke that he has shown he can be straight away.
“Each person needs time for this so he can get better, better, better.
“Tonight he was good, very hard working, but he did not play too often in this formation so it was not so easy with Roberto [Firmino] to close the lines.
“It wasn’t perfect. We can have a complete new team [and think] ok, s*** we didn’t train together, but with time they can get better and better.”