What will Benteke bring to Liverpool?

The Reds activated the £32.5million release clause in the Belgian’s Aston Villa contract over the weekend and Benteke is set to be confirmed as a Liverpool player in the coming days.

In the 2013-14 season with Luis Suarez and a fully-fit Daniel Sturridge available the Reds smashed in 101 goals as they battled for the Premier League title and secured a return to the Champions League.

However, Suarez was sold to Barcelona the following summer, while Sturridge was absent for much of last season due to injury, and the duo’s absence was keenly felt on the red half of Merseyside.

Liverpool scored just 52 goals last season as their strike force struggled, with Sturridge, Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert managing just eight Premier League goals between them.

Benteke himself found form hard to come by in the early part of the campaign for Villa after recovering from a serious injury over the summer, but he impressed in the latter stages as he fired the Midlands outfit to safety.

The 24-year-old grabbed 11 goals in as many games in the final run in as he ended his barren spell in style, and Liverpool will be hoping he can hit the ground running in 2015-16.

Boss Brendan Rodgers admits goals were an issue last season and that is something he hopes to rectify this summer.

He told the Liverpool Echo: “A few years ago we needed to improve our goal tally and we did that and it gave the team a little bit of profit. I feel it was the same this summer.”

Benteke managed 42 goals in 88 Premier League games for Villa and Rodgers will hope for a similar return from the forward following his switch to Anfield, but that is not the only aspect of his play that can boost the Reds attack.

The Belgium international also boasts speed and strength and is always a handful for any defender tasked with marking him. That will create space for the likes of Sturridge and Danny Ings – who moved to Liverpool from Burnley this summer – to exploit and the trio could well forge a formidable attacking trio next season and beyond for Rodgers’ men.

Benteke is also good at holding up the ball and winning aerial battles, and as such he can be a useful outlet when Liverpool find themselves under pressure or are defending a narrow lead in the closing stages of a game.

Rodgers finds himself under pressure this season after last year’s struggles and silverware will be high on the manager’s agenda, as he is yet to claim a trophy as Liverpool boss.

If they can keep Benteke fit he could well prove the difference in the battle for a place in the Champions League, which promises to be as fierce as ever in 2015-16 after a summer of strengthening for all of the top sides.

The former Genk man was crucial to Villa’s successful survival push last year and Rodgers will hope he can make a similar impact at the top of the table as Liverpool seek to return to the top four.

Sturridge’s return will also provide a huge boost and Benteke’s arrival should ease the pressure on the England striker, while Ings provides additional competition in an attack that failed to deliver last year.