Aston Villa vs. Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp Talks Christian Benteke, More in Presser

Rory MarsdenFeatured Columnist IVMarch 24, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09:  Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool looks on during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Replay match between West Ham United and Liverpool at Boleyn Ground on February 9, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted striker Christian Benteke is enduring a tough spell at the moment but insisted things could be worse for the Belgian.

The Reds travel to take on Benteke's former club Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday with the 25-year-old having not netted in 11 appearances, per

He was particularly wasteful in front of goal as Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup midweek by West Ham United, and Klopp said he had given Benteke some advice, per the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce:

I saw really good signs at West Ham. This isn't easiest period of his career. Getting chances is a good sign. I have talked to him a few times and given him advice as a coach and as a human being. It's not worst situation in the world. Sometimes players put themselves under more pressure when they face their former club. I don't have best experience of it.

Daniel Sturridge returned to action against the Hammers for the first time since December, coming on as a 59th-minute substitute with Divock Origi and playing through to the end of extra-time.

Klopp does not think a strike trio of Origi, Benteke and Sturridge can work in the Premier League, but he does believe the former Villa man and the England international can make a good attacking pair, per the Liverpool Echo"It was a risky formation to have Christian, Daniel and Divock together. But we wanted to win the game. I don't think it's likely a line up for PL. You need balance. But Daniel and Christian can certainly play together."

Liverpool conceded two late goals last time out in the Premier League to draw with Sunderland, and their extra-time defeat to West Ham cannot have been good for their confidence.

However, they should definitely be favourites over bottom-of-the-table Villa, despite the Birmingham outfit picking up a win over Norwich City in their last match.

The Sunderland draw was somewhat overshadowed by the protest over ticket prices at Anfield that saw around 10,000 fans leave the match after 77 minutes.

As a result of the action, Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group, have decided to scrap plans for £77 tickets next season, a move Klopp believes shows they care about the fans, per Pearce:

Sunday's match at Villa Park will be a good opportunity for the focus to return to the on-field action, and the German manager stressed the importance of having Origi and Philippe Coutinho back available, per the Echo:

Coutinho returned to the action for the first time since early January with a cheeky free-kick against West Ham, and he will be very important in the remainder of the season, per BT Sport Football:

However, Klopp did admit the Brazilian is not at 100 per cent yet, while Joe Allen is "out for a while" and Dejan Lovren could return from injury next week, per ESPN FC's Ben Dinnery

Liverpool are currently in ninth place in the Premier League and are looking increasingly unlikely to qualify for European football next season.

However, a string of wins could see them shoot up the table, and Villa are the perfect opponents following a run of six league games in which the Reds have only won once.

While defeat to Remi Garde's side would be another blow to Liverpool's season, a handsome victory could spur Klopp's side on to finish well in 2015-16.