Ahead of the Merseyside derby later on, it has come as a relief to many Liverpool fans that inform striker Divock Origi had been passed fit by manager Jurgen Klopp after an injury scare against the south coast side AFC Bournemouth.
But is the striker the answer to Liverpool’s attacking woes of recent seasons?
Off the back of some impressive displays for French side Lille towards the end of the 2013/14 season, it was evidently clear to Belgium coach Marc Wilmots that the young attacking prospect had the quality his side were looking for going in the Brazil World Cup Finals. Uncapped and inexperienced, Divock was the talking point of Belgium’s campaign after becoming the countries youngest World Cup goalscorer against Russia in the last 16, after getting a surprising start over 6″2′ prospect Romelu Lukaku.
Following the impressive World Cup campaign, Origi became subject to a £10million transfer to the Merseyside club Liverpool FC, whom in which immediately loaned the forward back to Lille to help continue his personal development. However, a season followed for the Reds full of striking woes and missed opportunities; with injuries to flamboyant striker Daniel Sturridge along with Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert being unable to fill the vacancy that was left from the transfer which saw controversial striker Luis Suarez, move to Catalan giants FC Barcelona. This fuelled speculation in the January transfer window that Liverpool manager at the time Brendan Rodgers was keen to recall Origi from France for an extra fee on top of the £10million the already spent. Yet it was clear the young Belgian was having striking problems of his own.
During his loan spell at Lille, Origi made 44 appearances (in all competitions) managing 9 goals and 5 assists. Evidently, the expectations were high for the youngster after the impressive world cup campaign and the lack of consistency meant the youngster found himself being named in L’Equipe’s ‘Ligue 1 Worst XI’. Liverpool fans remained upbeat about the strikers long-term development, despite the short-term prospects being frustrated with the Belgian being unable to get on the score sheet in his first 10 appearances for the club. Despite the forward showing a lack of composure in front of goal, fans still chose to remain positive, allowing the striker time to find his feet on the famous Anfield turf.
Just like many of his fellow teammates, Origi has started to excel under the new full of life boss Jurgen Klopp, repaying the manager and the fans for keeping their faith. Divock broke his Liverpool duck in style with an impressive hat-trick in the 6-1 thrashing of Southampton in the Capital One Cup in December. The striker followed his brace with a last-gasp equaliser against West Brom and there was an all love affair at Villa Park on Valentines Day, seeing the Belgian striker help his side to an easy on the eye, 6-0 victory.
With a surprise to some, Origi recently got the nod over finally fit striker Daniel Sturridge in the first away leg in an emotional match against Borussia Dortmund, with Jurgen Klopp returning to his old side after the end of a 7-year tenure. The Reds put on a dominant and fearless display in Germany, with Origi seeming to have scored a valuable away goal with the tie ending 1-1. Repaying the Belgian for his performance in midweek, Klopp brought the striker off the bench at half-time against Stoke City which saw Origi score a second-half brace in the 4-1 victory over the potters. It is clear that the 21-year-old is starting to show signs of becoming a reliable first team striker showing large amounts of confidence when leading the line.
Origi continued his goal scoring form after latching on from a perfectly weighted pass from German midfielder Emre Can, precisely slotting the ball past experienced goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller, reviving Liverpool’s comeback after a disappointing start against Dortmund in the return leg in the Europa League quarter-finals. The Belgian celebrated his 21st birthday earlier this week with reds fans hoping the striker has finally found the form to help discover his true potential. Origi is certainly showing maturity when he is called upon by Jurgen Klopp and has shown he knows what it takes to become the answer to the Reds striking woes of late. With only a handful of games left this season, Origi is showing that he could save Liverpool a lot of money come the summer, with the quality to unlock any caliber of defence.
His Premier League season so far:
9 chances created