Aston Villa would have held out for more money for Christian Benteke had they known the Belgian striker would end the season so prolifically, according to manager Tim Sherwood.
Benteke netted just twice before Christmas before going on a run of 11 goals in 10 games from March until the end of the season.
During the summer transfer Liverpool activated the £32.5m release fee that had been inserted into Benteke’s contract and Sherwood believes the Reds have landed themselves a bargain.
“Last Christmas there might not have been too many takers but he showed the quality he’s got over the latter part of the season, which prompted Liverpool to spend the money,” said Sherwood.
“I expected them to pay that sort of money for Christian Benteke because of what he is, a top player.
“There was nothing the club could have done. We’d have liked to have kept him, we valued him at a lot more than that.
“The clause was there for a reason and Liverpool matched it. But his value to the football club would have been a lot more than that.”
Villa travel to Anfield to take on the Reds this weekend but there will be no reunion with former Holte End hero Benteke as the striker has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Both teams find themselves in the Premier League’s bottom eight ahead of Saturday’s game, although Sherwood told reporters he feared that might be the case after losing key players from last season’s squad.
“Christian’s gone, Fabian Delph’s gone, Tom Cleverley’s gone. They’re all established Premier League players,” he added.
“We will now develop what we have. We’re a work in progress and we’re happy with the squad. The new players came here because we knew they were good players. Some hit the ground running right away, others take time.”