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Liverpool's Christian Benteke keen to stay at top of the league

By Andy Hampson

Published 18/08/2015

Liverpool's Christian Benteke struck his side's winner against Bournemouth
Liverpool's Christian Benteke struck his side's winner against Bournemouth

Christian Benteke brushed aside the controversy over his first Liverpool goal to reflect on a satisfactory home debut.

The Reds' £32million summer signing hit a disputed winner as the Merseysiders snatched a 1-0 victory over Barclays Premier League newcomers Bournemouth at Anfield.

Liverpool's Christian Benteke (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA
Liverpool's Christian Benteke (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA
Charlotte Hind in the stands during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (11) is substituted on for Jordon Ibe during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Bournemouth's Max Gradel (left) battles for the ball with Liverpool's Nathaniel Clyne during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool's Christian Benteke (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool's Christian Benteke reacts during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool's James Milner during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday August 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool's English midfielder James Milner (R) has a shot at goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on August 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Bournemouth's English defender Simon Francis (L) challenges Liverpool's English midfielder Jordon Ibe during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on August 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Bournemouth's Norwegian striker Joshua King (R)in action against Liverpool's English midfielder Adam Lallana (2nd R) during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on August 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson (2nd R) challenges Bournemouth's Norwegian striker Joshua King (L) during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on August 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's English defender Joe Gomez (L) clears the ball as Bournemouth's English striker Callum Wilson looks on during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on August 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's English defender Joe Gomez (2nd L) is challenged by Bournemouth's English striker Callum Wilson (L) during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on August 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's US owner John W. Henry (R) and his wife Linda Pizzuti are pictured before the start of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on August 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's US owner John W. Henry (R) and his wife Linda Pizzuti are pictured before the start of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on August 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's English defender Nathaniel Clyne (Front 2nd L) in action against Bournemouth's Norwegian striker Joshua King during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on August 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
The Liverpool team form a huddle before the start of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on August 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Adam Smith of Bournemouth and Alberto Moreno of Liverpool chase the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and A.F.C. Bournemouth at Anfield on August 17, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Jordan Henderson of Liverpool shakes hands with team mate Emre Can as he is substituted during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and A.F.C. Bournemouth at Anfield on August 17, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Jordan Henderson of Liverpool shakes hands with Brendan Rodgers manager of Liverpool as he is substituted during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and A.F.C. Bournemouth at Anfield on August 17, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Joshua King (R) and Max Gradel of Bournemouth (L) battle with Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool (C) during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and A.F.C. Bournemouth at Anfield on August 17, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: (L-R) Joshua King (R) and Max Gradel of Bournemouth (L) battle with Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool (C) during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and A.F.C. Bournemouth at Anfield on August 17, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: (L-R) Joshua King and Max Gradel of Bournemouth take on Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and A.F.C. Bournemouth at Anfield on August 17, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Benteke struck from close range after 26 minutes, a goal referee Craig Pawson allowed to stand despite team-mate Philippe Coutinho having appeared to be offside.

That added to the Cherries' frustrations after having a Tommy Elphick header harshly disallowed for a foul in the opening minutes, but they were no concern of Benteke's.

The former Aston Villa forward said: "It was important for me on my debut at Anfield to score and help the team win.

"Now we have six points, we are top of the league and we want to keep going and work hard to stay there.

"I'm settled. I am happy and I try to improve myself and be there for my team-mates."

As in their season-opening win at Stoke, Liverpool lacked fluency and were not convincing. They did have a spell of dominance either side of the goal, and captain Jordan Henderson clipped the top of the bar, but Bournemouth fought hard.

Conceding the goal set Bournemouth back but they recovered in the second half and went close when the impressive Matt Ritchie smashed a shot against the outside of the post.

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel acknowledged victory was not straightforward.

The Slovakian told LFC TV: "The win is all that counts and our three points are important. I am also happy that we kept a clean sheet again.

"I must admit they were lively and dangerous, played well and had a couple of good chances."

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was aggrieved about the result - a second successive 1-0 loss in the top flight - but hoped his players would take plenty of encouragement from their performance.

He said: "We know we need points and results - it is a tough league, an unforgiving league. We have seen that already.

"But ultimately the performances and the general aspects of our play have been very good. Hopefully the bigger picture is it gives the players confidence they can succeed at this level, we can play our style of football and still be successful. Hopefully there is long-term gain there for us."

Opposite number Brendan Rodgers was impressed by the visitors and their attractive style, and believes they can make a similar impact in the top division to his old side Swansea.

Rodgers said: "I think they are an excellent team.

"It is very much the same situation as when I arrived at Swansea. After the first five games I think we hadn't scored a goal and everyone was wondering if could we score and play that type of football to stay up.

"In the end we stayed up comfortably and I think Bournemouth will be the same. They have some excellent players and a style of football that will give them an advantage.

"These early games are tough, they are learning about the league but I am sure they will do very well and stay up."

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