Dave Davis analyses why Divock Origi is a good squad option to have, with the Belgian back at Melwood for pre-season after a loan spell with Wolfsburg.
“It was a bit of a change of scenario. I learned a lot mentally and grew a lot. I think I’ve come back more mature.”
If Divock Origi is considering his options away from Anfield then he’s keeping it well within. As most of Liverpool’s second string attackers continue to get linked with moves away, the Belgium forward’s name doesn’t crop up as often as it once did.
Where ‘squad options’ appear to be needed for the new campaign, the Belgian may well be just that.
Last season’s reports from Wolfsburg came back as a negative. The 23-year-old didn’t net too often, got brought off once at half-time and his team narrowly avoided the drop.
The man who Brendan Rodgers bought in for £10 million appeared nailed on to depart this summer, going down as a player that never fulfilled his initial potential. Having missed out on his country’s World Cup squad, a chance to put himself in the shop window appears to be gone.
Reprieves can come in various guises and whilst there’s no guarantee of one, recent events may aid Origi’s cause. Multiple news outlets leaking Danny Ings seeking a move elsewhere at the same time is no coincidence. Daniel Sturridge’s ability isn’t the issue, regardless of what outcries come on the back of a double against Chester.
Dominic Solanke is still learning his craft and for all his potential, Harry Wilson isn’t a striker.
Closer examination at Origi’s record is worth consideration. The 25 times capped player managed six goals and two assists in the Bundesliga over 1967 minutes, or just shy of 22 games in total.
Compared with seven goals and four assists in 1457 minutes, or just over 16 games in total over the 16/17 campaign and it appears a decline. Keep in mind that Ings and Solanke only managed a goal apiece and it suddenly sounds a lot more attractive.
Although Sturridge is the infinitely more talented player, the fact he managed only 630 minutes in all competitions tells its own story.
Origi is unlikely to ever become a top class striker or threaten Firmino in any way in Klopp’s starting XI. As last season demonstrated though, it’s a squad game and the former Lille attacker appears to stack up against the other squad options that Liverpool currently possess.
Whilst the likes of Shaqiri may well be ushered through the Melwood doors to provide support to the front three, a player with an aerial presence at the top end isn’t a bad alternative.
Klopp may decide there’s better value out there, but don’t be surprised if one of Liverpool’s squad options is already in place.