By Emma Sanders
Football Insider names Liverpool’s Flop of the Year as 2016 draws to a close.
Christian Benteke was not the player Liverpool hoped he would be in 2016.
The former Aston Villa striker cost £32.5 million in the summer of 2015 and was tipped to become the club’s number one goal-scorer for the following season.
However, he was a huge disappointment and managed just seven goals in his opening five months so by the time 2016 came around, he was not a guaranteed starter.
His goal-scoring record wasn’t a disaster compared to other Liverpool flops in recent seasons, including Mario Balotelli but Benteke came under huge criticism for his style of play.
The striker wasn’t the fast-paced, creative player Liverpool fans have grown accustomed to seeing in attack and he wasn’t as aggressive in his off-the-ball pressing as some of the other stars.
He made just 13 Premier League appearances for the Reds in 2016 and Jurgen Klopp had taken over and just six of those were in the starting XI.
Benteke wasn’t even the third choice striker in the Europa League final and he didn’t even make an appearance in the crucial quarter-final victory against Borrusia Dortmund.
Klopp placed his faith in Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi instead and Benteke was well and firmly outcasted within 12 months of his arrival. Klopp clearly doesn’t rate him.
He joined Crystal Palace in the summer, completing just one unsuccessful season in Merseyside after it was clear his transfer had been nothing short of a flop.
In other Liverpool news, this is the club’s best player in 2016.