LONDON – Liverpool are ready to make an offer for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke after he plays in Saturday’s FA Cup final, sources have told ESPN FC.
Manager Brendan Rodgers is keen to strengthen his attack, and Benteke is among his summer transfer targets, sources said.
The 24-year-old scored when Villa beat the Reds in an FA Cup semifinal on April 19 to set up this weekend’s meeting with Arsenal at Wembley.
But Rodgers is a long-time admirer of the Belgium international, who has fully recovered from an Achilles injury that forced him to miss last year’s World Cup in Brazil.
The Liverpool manager decided against a move in January for Benteke, who at that stage had yet to rediscover his best form following that injury.
But the forward is finishing the season spectacularly, having hit 12 goals in his last 12 Villa games to help secure their Premier League survival in addition to an FA Cup final place.
Christian Benteke helped Villa knock Liverpool out of the FA Cup but could find himself at Anfield next season.
Rodgers, who has also been pursuing Burnley striker Danny Ings, is looking for a solution to the goal-scoring problems that have afflicted his side over the last nine months.
Having scored 101 Premier League goals in finishing runners-up to Manchester City 12 months ago, Liverpool managed only 52 this time around.
The sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona last July, coupled with the loss of Daniel Sturridge to a series of injury setbacks, have been key factors as the Reds’ goal tally has dropped.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Brad Jones and defender Glen Johnson are to leave Anfield, as their contracts — which expire in June — will not be renewed, according to sources.
Striker Fabio Borini and left-back Jose Enrique, who are not out of contract, have also been told they can look for other clubs, sources said.
Borini, whose deal at Anfield runs until 2017, has made just five starts all season after rejecting moves to Sunderland and QPR last summer.
Enrique, who has been troubled by injury problems over the last two seasons, has one year left on his Liverpool contract, but has not played for the first team since January. – ESPN FC