Brendan Rodgers hails promising start by new strikeforce
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has expressed his delight with Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino after the forwards made their first-team debuts in the club`s final warm-up match before the new Premier League season.
London: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has expressed his delight with Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino after the forwards made their first-team debuts in the club`s final warm-up match before the new Premier League season.
Benteke, who cost 32.5 million pounds ($50.77 million) from Aston Villa, drew gasps with a spectacular volleyed goal from the edge of the penalty area as his new team beat League One (third tier) Swindon Town 2-1 on Sunday.
"Christian`s goal was incredible, whether it was a pre-season friendly or in a league or cup game," Rodgers told Liverpool`s official website (www.liverpoolfc.com).
"It was wonderful technique from the big guy.
"The other guys started to get some minutes under their belt. It was pleasing all round.
"It finished off our pre-season preparations -- a number of guys needed a game today. It was a really good exercise."
Brazilian Firmino, signed from German club Hoffenheim, played for more than an hour.
"You see his quality," Rodgers said. "He is really bright on the ball, has got wonderful technique and has got the ability to want to get forward and score a goal."
If Liverpool are to improve on last season`s disappointing sixth place finish, the most obvious change needs to be in the number of goals scored.
A total of 52 was a poor return and, even before losing England forward Raheem Sterling to Manchester City, Rodgers made the recruitment of attacking players his priority, knowing that injury-prone striker Daniel Sturridge will miss the opening months of the season.
As well as Belgian international Benteke and Firmino, he has also signed Danny Ings from Burnley and recalled Divock Origi from a season-long loan at Lille.
Despite the departure of talismanic captain Steven Gerrard to LA Galaxy, Rodgers believes Liverpool are in good shape for Sunday`s opening fixture, when they return to the scene of a 6-1 defeat in the final match of last season at Stoke City.