Jason Harris analyses Divock Origi’s current worth at Liverpool and why the Belgian is running the risk of being left behind.
There is nothing like a striker that possesses a mixture of strength and power to their game.
To put it kindly, it is every defender’s worst nightmare.
Liverpool fans do not need to be told what a thorn in the side the likes of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Didier Drogba and Romelu Lukaku have been over the years.
Since the turn of the millennium, Liverpool strikers have differed in technical from the workhorse (Dirk Kuyt and Roberto Firmino), to the true British target man Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll). The downright mercurial (Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres) to the hybrids (Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mané). We’ve had it all.
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However, when it comes to muscular powerhouses, there have been very few playing for the club since the turn of the millennium, with the one standing out the most being Emile Heskey. Quite often this type of player is derided for being lazy and not always using their attributes to the benefit of the team.
Heskey certainly started in superb fashion in his first full season at the club in 2000/1 and was a main reason why the Reds won a treble that season and qualified for the Champions League after a long absence from the competition.
The following years saw Heskey’s output diminish considerably, so much so that there were moans and groans when the team sheet was announced and his name was on it.
In simple terms he lost all confidence in himself and the role that he was meant to play for the team. Eventually he was sold to Birmingham and his career never took on the heights it looked like in his early days at the Reds.
The current day Liverpool squad is lucky to have a great mixture of strikers on their books and among them are two which you would classify in the Heskey category where power and pace are a major attribute.
While Dom Solanke does not possess the name or first team experience as most strikers in the Premier League, what he has is a presence as seen by his pre-season games.
Jürgen Klopp will undoubtedly guide his development ever so slowly, and not overburden him too much too soon and being the ‘new boy’ he will have to bide his time. However, if he continues his current rate of improvement, he will be pressurising those ahead of him in no time.
One of those players who would be feeling a challenge by the England U20 World Cup winner is Divock Origi. Now entering his third season at Anfield, the 22 year old Belgian is at an interesting point of his career. Klopp has managed to produce some fantastic performances out of Origi, but none of them have been over a sustained period.
When he produced a scintillating pair of performances against Borussia Dortmund in April 2016, the football world looked to be at his feet and that momentum continued into the Premier League until an injury cut him down at the most inopportune time.
After that setback, much was expected of Origi last season, but it was one where he flitted in and out of form. When he was good, the Belgian was fantastic like in a stretch in late November/early December where he scored four league goals and another one in the cup.
However, when he was asked to lead the line in FA Cup games in mid-January, it was there where he struggled with the responsibility. From there he went through a range of peaks and troughs.
There is little doubt that Origi is still learning his trade in the cut and thrust of one of the best leagues in World Football. His next step is to work on his overall consistency by working out where his strengths lie and what he can work on to be the best Footballer he can be.
He can also look to answer these questions:
Will he be content with being a 20-25 minute cameo player or can he grab the bull by the horns in a consistent starting role?
Is Liverpool the right club for him to satisfy his Footballing goals?
Or is there another club at which an opportunity awaits for him?
Roberto Firmino is rightfully seen as the leader of the line in Klopp’s starting lineup so Origi faces a significant challenge of his own to surpass him and Daniel and to be truthful, his early season form has not been overly encouraging in this regard.
However, the beauty about football is that there are plenty of opportunities to prove the doubters wrong.
The 2017/18 season shapes up to be an exciting one for Liverpool players and fans alike.
It is also shaping up to be a fascinating one in the Liverpool career of Divock Origi.