24 Jul 2015

Liverpool sign Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke

12:05 pm on 24 July 2015

The English football club Liverpool has completed the signing of striker Christian Benteke from fellow-Premiership side Aston Villa.

Aston Villa's Zaire-born Belgian striker Christian Benteke (L) celebrates Villa's second goal during the FA Cup semi-final between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Wembley stadium in London on April 19, 2015.

Aston Villa's Zaire-born Belgian striker Christian Benteke (L) celebrates Villa's second goal during the FA Cup semi-final. Photo: AFP

Villa were reluctant to let the 24-year-old Belgian international striker leave but had no option once Liverpool agreed to meet his buy-out clause of $77 million.

Liverpool had money to spend after selling England's Raheem Sterling for a fee of $116 million to Manchester City.

Benteke played 100 games for Villa in three seasons, scoring 49 goals.

He was top scorer last season with 15, including 12 in as many games towards the end of the campaign, helping them to avoid relegation by three points.

Born in Kinshasa, Zaire, he joined Villa from Belgian club Genk in 2012.

Having also signed Danny Ings from Burnley and Brazilian international Roberto Firmino, Liverpool have invested heavily in firepower to improve on last season's disappointing sixth place.

Liverpool struggled for goals last season following the 178 million dollar sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona and prolonged injury absences for England international Daniel Sturridge as they finished fifth in the Premier League.

Signings Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert produced three league goals and, after acknowledging the lack of scoring last season, manager Brendan Rodgers has added Benteke to revive the Reds' attack.

Liverpool have also signed forwards Danny Ings from Burnley and Brazil international Roberto Firminio from Hoffenheim, while Benteke's international team-mate Divock Origi has returned to the club after spending last season on loan at Lille.

Benteke missed the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil with an Achilles tendon injury but returned to action last October and scored 15 times to help Villa stay in the Premier League and reach the FA Cup final.

Benteke's potential strike partner Daniel Sturridge will not be fit for the start of the season after having surgery on a thigh injury.