Origi finally joins Liverpool
Divock Origi trained with his Liverpool team-mates for the first time this week, one year on from his arrival at the club.
The 20-year-old was immediately loaned back to Lille after starring at the World Cup for Belgium last summer.
However, Origi’s stock has fallen in the past 12 months and the striker already has a lot to prove ahead of his debut for the Reds. Here, we take a closer look at what lies ahead for the £10 million frontman.
So what happened last season?
It ended with Origi being named in Ligue 1’s worst XI in a poll ran by influential French sports paper L’Equipe.
That, though, was perhaps as much to do with expectation as it was performance, for the Belgian returned eight league goals from 33 appearances, a total which bettered any of Liverpool’s strikers last term.
But, given his impressive breakthrough at the World Cup, the French public had hoped for more from the highly-rated teenager.
One missed penalty during a Europa League tie with Wolfsburg saw Lille’s fans turn on their loanee.
That came amid a five-month goal drought and speculation that Origi was being lined up for a January return to Anfield. That did not happen and he silenced his critics with a match-winning treble against Rennes in March.
However, it proved a largely unhappy season for Origi and Lille as they finished eighth in Ligue 1.
Will he be scarred by that experience?
Liverpool will hope not. Indeed, loan spells are designed to shape the character of young players and a season such as his could well aid his mental development, especially with the pressures of performing in front of the Kop to come.
Will he get a chance at Liverpool?
That will largely depend on how he performs in pre-season. Minus Luis Suarez and with Daniel Sturridge having endured an injury-plagued campaign, there is no pre-determined attacking pecking order at Anfield.
To that end, Origi has as much chance as fellow summer arrival Danny Ings when it comes to winning a starting jersey.
There’s a lot of competition though?
The expected sale of Raheem Sterling will at least make it easier for Origi to make his mark, although Roberto Firmino has already arrived as his potential replacement.
Add to that attacking midfielders such as Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana, as well as forwards Sturridge, Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini and Ings, and the prospect of game-time begins to look a little bleak.
He’ll have no excuses if he does start up front though?
Absolutely. Origi proved at the World Cup that he can lead a line and, given the right support, he will score goals. In that respect, he could not ask for a better supply line in the form of Coutinho, Lallana and Firmino, not to mention the likes of Jordan Henderson and James Milner picking passes from deep.
Is that his best position or could he be one of the support players?
Even though he is 6ft 1ins and draws inevitable comparison with countrymen Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku, Origi has the skill and pace to operate out wide.
That versatility could prove invaluable if Rodgers uses a variation of the 4-2-3-1 formation this season.
Rodgers says he has the potential to be ‘world class’, and when asked about Origi last season insisted he had a big part to play in Liverpool’s future. He added: ‘We will get him (back from Lille) next summer. Now he is a top player. He has everything — the speed, the profile and so on.’
Liverpool could certainly do with a striker of such calibre as they look to recover what was 49-goal deficit on last season compared to 2013-14. The pressure, then, could well be on for Origi from the off.
Courtesy Daily Mail