OPINION By Coral Barry
Christian Benteke’s spell at Liverpool looks increasingly like it will be a fleeting one as it emerges that the club are willing to sell the striker this summer.
The Belgian has not made a league start since the 2-0 defeat to West Ham at the start of January and has dropped to third in the forward pecking order at Anfield.
Essentially a big targetman that lives off crosses, Benteke has proved to be a square peg in a round hole at Liverpool, where he is on a different wavelength to the nimble and quick-thinking likes of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino.
With Benteke edging towards the door, the question remains: who should Liverpool bring in to replace him?
Any potential arrival will need to be capable of matching and flourishing in Klopp’s high intensity and quick passing team. They also need to be affordable, and it is hard to imagine the club paying more than the £32.5million they shelled out for Benteke.
Alexandre Lacazette, 24, may just fit that description after the Lyon hitman put to bed suggestions he might be a one-hit wonder with another impressive campaign
After netting a remarkable 31 goals in all competitions last season, Lacazette has followed up with 14 league strikes again this campaign.
Lacazette began life as a winger and has all the pace and trickery Anfield craves combined with the potency that Benteke has so lacked this term.
Another option is fellow Ligue 1 sensation, Michy Batshuayi who has spent the year sending his price-tag through the roof.
The 22-year-old Belgian is behind Lacazette in the French scoring charts on 13, but has provided nine league assists to his Marseille teammates. A fee of £20million is likely to be enough to land either of the France-based pair.
A final option, and perhaps the most expensive, is Inter Milan’s leading goalscorer Mauro Icardi.
Icardi, 23, is rated in the £35million bracket due to his goalscoring exploits in Serie A. He has scored 12 goals in 26 league matches this season, and 48 in 98 matches in all competitions for Inter since his 2013 transfer from Sampdoria.
The lethal hitman has also taken on a huge responsibility at Inter despite his young age by taking over the armband, perhaps an indication of the kind of character Klopp seems to demand from his players.