Dave Davis discusses how Divock Origi will need to take the opportunity he is likely to receive against Burnley this afternoon.
A week after an excellent performance against Arsenal, it’s natural to expect that Jürgen Klopp would name an unchanged side. Jordan Henderson looks like he’s lost his fitness race and it would seem hard on Ragnar Klavan if Dejan Lovren slotted straight back in, but that doesn’t look like being the biggest news of the weekend. With Klopp admitting that Roberto Firmino has been unable to train recently, all eyes have fallen on Divock Origi.
There’s been a great hope around Anfield for a while about Origi’s potential and what the player could eventually become. After an impressive cameo at the World Cup for Belgium, the ex-Lille man spent a season on loan at his former club, before making the move over to Anfield. Since then we’ve seen the performances that you’d associate from a player with potential, not far off his 22nd birthday.
Last season, it appeared that the Belgium forward had reached the next plateau in his career and Origi’s performances and goals played a huge part in Liverpool’s march to the Europa League final. However, an injury in the Derby at the hands of Funes Mori cruelly curtailed the rest of his season and for a long period, it appeared there was a worry over whether he’d get back to his previous performance levels.
At the start of this campaign, Origi found himself behind the first choice front three of Mane-Firmino-Coutinho, whilst competing with Sturridge for a few minutes here and there at best. After Coutinho’s injury in November, it was the young striker who came on to break Sunderland’s resistance and subsequently went on a run of scoring in five successive games for the Reds. Again, though, it looked like another false dawn as Origi and Liverpool went through their recent struggles with many remembering the 21-year-old’s penalty miss against Plymouth.
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It should be stressed that the worries about this weekend shouldn’t fall solely on Origi by any means. Liverpool’s struggles have been well documented this season against teams that have ‘parked the bus’ or put men behind the ball. Anfield would feel far more comfortable if it was another team in the top six heading to town this weekend rather than a team others would expect us to brush aside comfortably.
Firmino looked like he’d returned to form in the Arsenal game and the worry will now be about which Origi will turn up. Daniel Sturridge is injured again, so barring a major shock or Klopp trickery, our number 27 will lead the line this weeken21-year-oldr old with potential he maybe, but if Origi is going to be a long-term success at Anfield then consistency will be something that he needs to bring to the table.
You sense that Klopp really likes his young striker, but that patience won’t last forever. If he does get a start against Burnley, there will be pressure and expectation on the player. One game doesn’t break a career, but it maybe coming towards a crunch period in his Anfield career.