Liverpool have a striker who is currently wreaking havoc in Germany’s top-flight. Despite signing for the Reds in 2015, however, Taiwo Awoniyi is still yet to play for the Merseysiders.
Still, following a successful run of form, the 23-year-old is very-much optimistic his opportunity with Jurgen Klopp will come, as reported by Punch.
One of the reasons why Awoniyi is still waiting for his inaugural Liverpool bout is the result of a failure to land a work permit.
And as a result, Awoniyi has been on seven separate loan spells as he patiently waits for an opening at the home of the English champions.
Awoniyi, himself, has previously claimed he was highly regarded at Anfield. The previously linked Rangers and Celtic target even went as far to label himself as an “amazing talent”, as per Sporting Life in 2019.
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Klopp, too, was an advocate that Awoniyi indeed, still has a bright future ahead of him.
Making his mark
And, two years on, a successful stint in the Bundesliga provides an indication that both Awoniyi and Klopp may have been on to something, after all.
Awoniyi, currently on a season-long loan with Union Berlin, has been in prolific form in Germany’s top-flight this term. The Nigeria international has five goals in his previous nine matches as well as two assists.
Following such a rich reign of form, Awoniyi and his club side are currently locked in a exciting race for a Champions League spot alongside the likes of Borussia Dotmund, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig. They trail league leaders Bayern Munich by eight points, too.
Awoniyi, who recently scored in a 2-1 win against Dortmund, opened up on the challenges that have come following a host of loan spells, as well as the obstacles that have so far hindered his Liverpool playing career.
“It’s not been easy switching clubs every season. I must admit it has been my biggest challenge since I arrived in Europe – but that has also made me gain more experience as a footballer,” he said.
“The reason I’m yet to play for Liverpool is I don’t have a work permit. Liverpool saw a lot in me and kept me for a reason. Going to Liverpool has been the best decision I have taken in my life.”
With Liverpool’s attacking firepower having dried up in recent weeks, Awoniyi has recently emerged as a potential option to aid the club’s goalscoring prospects next season.
Asked if he was confident of breaking the club’s attacking dynamic and forcing his way into the team, he said: “Of course, I do.”
“Time and chances are key. Sadio Mane is Africa’s best. And the truth is, he didn’t just find himself at Liverpool suddenly, he went through processes. Roberto Firmino did, just as Mohamed Salah did.
“Salah also played on loan from Chelsea at Fiorentina and Roma. It is what it is. Some players may never have to go through all of these (challenges) – but many have to.”
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With Divock Origi’s time at Anfield seemingly drawing to its closing stages, Awoniyi very-much represents a long-term replacement.
At 23, the former Mainz star certainly looks one of the future and a player who Klopp could get the best out of.
Indeed, it is a big void to fill, but Awoniyi is young, hungry and desperate to prove himself. If he continues to wreak havoc in the Bundesliga, Klopp will certainly have to listen.
After all, Liverpool prefer to solve vacated positions via internal solutions. The club’s current issue at centre-back proves as such.
Whether or not Awoniyi has the quality to break the mould at Liverpool remains to be seen. However, considering he has yet to be given a chance, it certainly is a risk worth taking.