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Team of the Weekend, Dec. 20-21

Premier League
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Rodgers hails 'warrior' Skrtel

Liverpool
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Lambert: Dropping Benteke the right call

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is convinced his dropping of Christian Benteke sent out the right message.

Christian Benteke reacts to a missed chance against Liverpool.
Paul Lambert stands by his decision to bench Christian Benteke.

Belgium international Benteke was ommitted from the starting line-up for the 3-2 victory over Southampton on Wednesday night after a miserable run of seven games without a goal for Villa.

Lambert made the difficult choice to prove that Aston Villa does not revolve around one player, despite the fact Benteke virtually kept the club up singlehandedly with his goals, following his 7 million pounds arrival from Genk.

He also insists that the reason behind his decision was to take some of the pressure of the striker and give him a chance to rediscover the breathtaking form of last season.

Lambert's move was justified with goals from his replacement Libor Kozak and also Gabby Agbonlahor and Lambert said: "Libor Kozak, I thought, and Gabby Agbonlahor led the line brilliantly and both scored. You try to treat everybody the same."

Benteke emerged as a 65th-minute subsitute to replace Kozak and Lambert added: "The football club doesn’t revolve around one player. I made a decision I thought was the right call. I’ve got 25 lads that have to be treated the same way.

"Christian was doing brilliant for me last year, as everybody knows. He’s just had a little spell where at this minute he’s probably not hitting the heights he was last year.

"But I thought when he came on he certainly looked like he was getting back to the powershouse that he is. Sometimes a rest is as good as playing. We’ve got seven games this month or so."

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