Should Divock Origi make his season debut vs Leeds United? There’s a fairly strong case that Liverpool could use him.
Roberto Firmino won’t face Leeds United. He’s still recovering from a hamstring injury that he picked up against Chelsea. While his recovery is going well, the Brazilian won’t recover in time for this one.
But he’s not the only forward option missing the game. Takumi Minamino won’t feature after his own injury on international duty. That leaves Liverpool quite light.
There’s no Xherdan Shaqiri to call on, of course. It means Liverpool only have four forwards available – Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Divock Origi.
One of those players stands out. All but one have actually played this season, after all. But there’s a really good argument that Origi should make his season debut against Leeds United.
Origi to face Leeds?
The trouble with Firmino’s injury is that it effectively rules him out of two very important games. He might be back for the midweek clash with AC Milan but it sounds unlikely.
Jurgen Klopp goes into these fixtures with only three forwards he can truly rely on, then. We find it hard to believe he’ll push them through 180 minutes in just a few days, however.
And so the argument to play Origi for considerable minutes is a strong one. Klopp can rest at least one player ahead of the Milan game which could prove vital. It’s a tough Champions League group, for one, and every point matters.
But we also shouldn’t act as though playing Origi is the end of the world. His minutes to goal ratio is actually very good, even if it’s a small sample. Liverpool just lose some fluidity with him in the side and can’t quite play the same style as usual.
That might actually work against Leeds, though. They’re a very high-energy, high-pressing side who won’t allow Liverpool to play the entire game their way. Marcelo Bielsa will want to take the game to Klopp and there will be a thorough plan for the Reds.
And so having a more physical option upfront makes some sense. It’s an ability to make things a little less predictable and might be the only way Klopp can significantly change things up top. That, as a result, can undo some of Bielsa’s planning.
There won’t be too many games this season where playing Origi over others carries a genuine advantage. This might be one, however.
Liverpool can better prepare for Milan and maybe throw off Bielsa. It might be time for that season debut.