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Liverpool striker Benteke eyes top spot

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 Premier League newcomers Bournemouth.

Christian Benteke netted the only goal against Bournemouth. Credit: PA

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."

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Watford to eye Liverpool striker Balotelli

Mario Balotelli is on his way out of Anfield. Credit: PA

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli could be offered the chance to stay in the Premier League by Watford, according to Sky Sport Italia.

The Italian could be thrown this lifeline by his compatriot Giampaolo Pozzo, the owner of The Hornets.

Balotelli is out of favour at Anfield, with Brendan Rodgers desperate to offload the unpredictable Italian.

Enrique: Liverpool have alienated Balotelli, Borini and me

Enrique looks set for the exit door at Anfield. Credit: PA

Joe Enrique feels he's been alienated at Liverpool by Brendan Rodgers along with Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini.

The left-back, who looks set for the exit door, has not featured for the Reds since January and only made nine appearances last-term. Italian strikers Balotelli and Borini also look set to leave the club after falling down the pecking order behind Daniel Sturride, Danny Ings, Christian Benteke and Divock Origi this summer.

“I'm in a difficult position,” said Enrique told the Liverpool Echo. “The club have alienated Balotelli, Borini and me.

“I have a year left on my contract and I imagine the club will want to sell, but I still want to stay and fight as I always have.

“But if a good offer came (elsewhere) with more years of contract and more chance to play, I'd look at it. I know that if I stay I'll play.

“I will not give up. I know from experience that football changes from day to night.

“I feel fine after two years with knee discomfort. Plus in the squad here we only have one pure left-back (Alberto Moreno) and I know that if I stay I'll play. I want to prove that some are wrong.”

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Starting line-ups: Stoke v Liverpool

Aston Villa boss hits back at Liverpool striker

Tim Sherwood is having none of it. Credit: PA

Tim Sherwood has dismissed Christian Benteke's veiled dig at his role in the striker's revival at Aston Villa.

The striker questioned the amount of praise Sherwood received for his part in Benteke's form at the end of last season before he left for Liverpool.

I took no credit, people gave me it, I didn't ask for it.

I would try anything to make him stay but I don't remember ever saying you shouldn't go and play for Liverpool. I wouldn't be that disrespectful to another football club.

I would certainly have given him the reasons why I think he should stay at Aston Villa. I said that last season. To score at the ratio he was scoring last season wouldn't be the end of the world for him.

It is up to Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers to decide how they want to play Christian Benteke. He is no interest to me now. I am looking at what we have here.

– Tim Sherwood

Werner backs 'right man' Rodgers at Liverpool

Liverpool expect a "strong improvement" this season from last year's disappointing campaign, according to chairman Tom Werner.

The Reds have brought in big-money signings like Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke this summer in a bid to make sure they at least get back into the Champions League.

Brendan Rodgers is still a stylish man. Credit: PA

"We do believe Brendan is the right man for Liverpool and the right man to take the club forward," Werner said in an interview with the Liverpool Echo.

"When we hired Brendan we wanted to see improvement.

"Hopefully when we have a conversation in a year's time he will have demonstrated and the squad will have demonstrated that we've regained top form again."

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