Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool not giving up on Benteke

By Ian Herbert

Liverpool maintain hope that the deadlock could be broken in talks to sign Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, though no bid has yet been placed.

Manager Brendan Rodgers still wants to add another proven goalscorer to Liverpool's ranks, despite the signing of Brazilian Roberto Firmino last week, and the club are trying to be imaginative as they seek a way through the main stumbling block: the £32.5m escape clause in the Belgian's contract which Villa have set as their valuation and the Anfield club categorically will not meet.

Liverpool may offer players to Villa as part of a deal, with Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini both forwards who have little prospect of featuring next season.

Their options narrowed yesterday as Liverpool stepped away from negotiating for one of the alternative targets, Seville's £21m Colombian Carlos Bacca, who is now destined for Milan. The escape clause valuation for Bacca, a 28-year-old with little potential resale value, was just not attractive enough to Liverpool. The club also know that negotiations over Zenit's Venezuelan Salomon Rondon could be complicated.

With Manchester City expected to make a third bid for Raheem Sterling any day, another striker will be pursued by Liverpool.

The speed with which they wrapped up the Firmino deal revealed a determination to prevent the club being overlooked as they have been in recent years for such targets as midfielder Willian, who favoured Chelsea.

Belfast Telegraph


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