Liverpool have completed the transfer of striker Christian Benteke from Aston Villa for £32.5m. The 24-year-old becomes manager Brendan Rodgers’ seventh signing of the summer and is Liverpool’s second most expensive purchase ever, after they decided to meet his buy-out clause. The Reds say he has signed “a long-term contract”.

Benteke, who scored 49 goals in 101 appearances during three seasons with Villa, will not link up with his new Liverpool team-mates on their Far East tour, but is expected to make his debut in the pre-season friendly against HJK Helsinki in Finland on August 1.

“I’m very happy to be here and I would like to thank the owners, Ian [Ayre] and of course the manager for their massive effort to bring me here,” Benteke told Liverpool’s website.

“I think it was the right club for me because I had a good chat with the manager and I wanted to be part of his project.

“I think when I came here with Aston Villa [it was] a great feeling to play at Anfield. Now, to be in the home shirt is going to be an exciting feeling.

“I know Liverpool is a big story. They’ve won league titles and the Champions League five times and of course the UEFA Cup and a lot of trophies. I know it’s a big club.

“I think there are quality players, a lot of good players with big names of course. I’m happy to be part of this team and will [try] to help this team reach its goals.

“I came here to win trophies. I came here to reach some great goals with the team.”

The former Genk frontman joins a host of attacking options at Rodgers’ disposal, with Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings, Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini already at the club.

Rodgers has been busy adding to his squad this summer, with the swoop for Benteke taking his spending to over £75m.

The Liverpool boss is attempting to improve on last season’s disappointing sixth-place finish and fill the void left by the departures of Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling to LA Galaxy and Manchester City respectively.

Ings, James Milner, Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez, Roberto Firmino and Nathaniel Clyne have all joined the club ahead of the new season.

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