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Liverpool close in on Benteke signing

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke (L) celebrates Villa's second goal during the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Wembley stadium on April 19, 2015
Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke (L) celebrates Villa’s second goal during the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Wembley stadium on April 19, 2015

LIVERPOOL, July 20- Liverpool and Aston Villa have reached an agreement over the transfer of striker Christian Benteke, according to Sky sources.

Liverpool met the £32.5m release fee clause last Thursday in Benteke’s contract and the two Premier League clubs have been in talks over the weekend over the finer details of the Belgium international’s transfer.

The 24-year-old is expected to have his medical with the Reds by Tuesday morning but the deal will not be done in time to allow him to join the club on their pres-season tour.

The Liverpool squad beat the Thai All-Stars side in Bangkok and are now in Australia where they won 2-1 against Brisbane Roar. They will play Adelaide United on Monday and a Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Manager Brendan Rodgers will be acquiring a player who has a stunning record against Liverpool with Benteke scoring five times against them in their last six encounters.

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.

Tim Sherwood said last week he was determined to keep Benteke but admitted the club were powerless if a bid of £32.5m was received.

Rodgers made Benteke his primary summer target to strengthen his forward line but, after initially refusing to meet the buy-out clause, the sale of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City in a £49m deal has prompted a shift in thinking.

Rodgers desperately needs a striker who can stand up to the rigours of the Premier League, particularly considering the ongoing injury concerns over England international Daniel Sturridge.

Liverpool have already bought six new players, including England right-back Nathaniel Clyne at a cost of £12.5m, and Benteke’s arrival would push their summer spending to around £80m.