Jack Hallows believes that this summer window is the perfect time for Liverpool FC to cash in on out-of-favour striker, Divock Origi.
I actually feel a little sorry for Divock Origi.
Had the Belgian not gotten injured in 2016 as the result of a horrendous tackle by Ramiro Funes Mori in Liverpool’s 4-0 derby win, who knows where he’d be now.
At the time, the then 21-year old had surprised many by becoming Jürgen Klopp’s first choice to lead the line – especially in their Europa League campaign – due to his energy and combination of skill, pace and height. His injury – which prematurely ended his season – allowed for the re-emergence of a fully fit Daniel Sturridge while Klopp began to put into his place his plan to play Roberto Firmino as a number nine.
While he fell behind both the aforementioned strikers in the pecking order, the Belgian still managed to score 11 goals last season in all competitions despite featuring primarily from the bench.
The signing of Mohamed Salah and Dominic Solanke last summer, along with the impending return of Danny Ings, meant that starting opportunities for the former Lille man were always going to become far more limited. With this in mind, the Belgian requested a loan move, eventually signing a temporary deal with Bundesliga outfit VfL Wolfsburg.
Initially, the move looked a good piece of business for all parties involved.
Origi was immediately handed a starting spot and repaid his new manager by finding the net four times in his first nine Bundesliga appearances, contributing one assist alongside the goals of his own. It looked as if the Belgian was benefitting heavily from the consistent game-time afforded to him, rewarding Wolfsburg and providing Liverpool with positive signs regarding his development in the process.
Unfortunately for Origi, it all went wrong in December.
The former Lille forward was pushed out wide upon the introduction of new manager Martin Schmidt and while it wasn’t only Origi’s performances that suffered upon Schmidt’s appointment, his decline was remarkable.
Two goals and one assist in 21 Bundesliga matches between November 18th and May 5th marked a truly horrific run for the forward and questions over why Liverpool had allowed him to leave on loan began to slowly disappear.
On a positive note for the player and his adopted club, Origi was able to at least finish the season strongly, scoring against FC Cologne in a 4-1 victory before a goal and assist performance in the relegation play-offs against Holstein helped his side avoid relegation by the skin of their teeth.
Origi’s poor season sees him miss out on Belgium’s World Cup squad for next month’s instalment of the competition, despite the likes of Nacer Chadli, Christian Benteke and Yannick Carrasco all being selected.
While there is no doubting that the player has always had potential and possesses all the tools to become a devastating forward, he’s not getting any younger.
He’s no longer an exciting 19 year old prospect looking to break onto the big stage as he was following the last World Cup. He’s a 23 year old who has two full Premier League seasons under his belt, as well as one Bundesliga campaign and has arguably, failed to grasp any of those chances firmly with both hands.
Saturday’s Champions League final showcased the need for greater depth in Liverpool’s attacking ranks but despite boasting pace, height and at times an eye for goal, Origi is not the answer. The Belgian’s inconsistency and seemingly fragile mentality mean he is not an upgrade on what we already have at the club and should be sold on to make room for Klopp to bring in someone who is.