Jurgen Klopp needs to choose between Divock Origi and Rhian Brewster when Liverpool face Leeds United on Saturday in their Premier League opener.
Liverpool need a forward on their bench to face Leeds but who should it be? Now, Klopp may not use the forward, whoever it is, but he needs the option there.
And he’s got a choice of two, really. It will either be Brewster, as it was against Arsenal or Origi, as it was for the entirety of last season.
Each comes with positives and negatives, however, and the choice should tell us about the plans for the upcoming campaign.
So here are our thoughts on each option.
Origi was not a good backup last season. He was pretty terrible, in fact, scoring just one goal in 2020 and that came on the last day of the season. He managed a measly four in the Premier League, despite being the primary support for the usual front three.
He struggled to assist goals, too. He didn’t get any in the Premier League after December, with his last coming in January in the FA Cup. And even that was for Curtis Jones’ screamer – he didn’t exactly pick the defence apart with his pass.
Despite all that, we know what Origi can do. He’s one of the main reasons Liverpool won the Champions Leauge in 2019, after all. His work from the bench in the final wrapped up the game, while he starring role against Barcelona in the semis showed that he can fill-in wonderfully well.
But that was all 18 months ago. Origi has not played well for some time, although his display on the final day last year was very promising.
His biggest problem now, then, is that there’s a younger alternative in the squad.
Brewster is in good form, despite his penalty miss against Arsenal. He scored 11 times in 22 games for Swansea over the second half of the season and added another three in pre-season this summer.
He’s still only 20, too – his ceiling looks very high. If Liverpool want someone on the bench who can find the net, Brewster is surely the answer. But there are drawbacks.
For one, he can only play one position – central striker. Klopp would need an alternative backup for the left-wing, something he doesn’t need to worry about with Origi, who can play both.
Then there’s the fact that he’s never played in the Premier League. We don’t actually know if he can score against top defences.
And Liverpool might want to move him on, too. Reports claim they could sell Brewster for around £20m.
If so, that opens up more questions. Do they use him against Leeds to see what he can do? Or to put him in the window? Or perhaps they don’t play him as to not risk injury.
What we’re thinking
The safe option is Origi. He’s capable of playing at Premier League level and he can cover two important positions. Brewster hasn’t proven either of those two things.
Origi is also an established member of the squad. There’s no change if he plays – things are as they were and there’s no upheaval.
Brewster, though, is the exciting choice. If he can score in the Premier League then he becomes a dangerous option from the bench. Surely that’s worth checking out?
Origi is semi-reliable and always around. Klopp can afford to try Brewster, then, knowing that Origi is still there if things don’t work out.
We’re not sure that’s the case the other way around. Playing Origi virtually eliminates any chance of getting a proper look against Brewster. The next two games are against Arsenal and Chelsea, after all – not the best teams to throw in untested players against.
So against Leeds, we hope Klopp opts for Brewster over Origi. We can have a look at what he’s capable of and whether he’s a threat. If he is, then he can stick around for the season – or even command a higher fee.