Christian Benteke's £32.5m release clause met by Liverpool
Last Updated: 18/07/15 10:48am
Liverpool have triggered the £32.5m release fee in Christian Benteke's contract, Sky sources understand.
The Reds have stepped up their pursuit of the Aston Villa striker as they look to add to their goalscoring options for next season.
Benteke, who has two years remaining on his Villa contract, has scored 49 goals in 101 appearances for the club since he joined from Genk in 2012.
The Belgian international scored 12 goals in 12 Premier League games last term as he helped Villa retain their top-flight status after a poor start to the season.
Earlier this week, Villa boss Tim Sherwood said he wanted to keep Benteke but admitted the club were powerless if a bid of £32.5m was received.
"If someone matches that buy-out clause there is nothing we can do about it," Sherwood told Sky Sports News HQ.
"But until that happens he is an Aston Villa player and we are all very pleased about that."
Sky Bet suspended their market on Benteke's next club on Thursday afternoon after Liverpool were backed in to 1/10 to sign him.
And after meeting the release fee stipulated in Benteke’s contract, Liverpool now look set to conclude a deal that would see the 6ft 3in striker become the second most expensive signing in their history.
Liverpool have first-hand experience of how potent the striker can be in front of goal.
Benteke scored more goals against Liverpool than any other side he faced last season, netting five times in all competitions, including the opener in the 2-1 FA Cup semi-final win at Wembley.
Liverpool currently have six senior strikers on their books. Daniel Sturridge, Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini remain at the club from last season, while Danny Ings and Divock Origi have both arrived at Anfield this summer.