Not so long ago, Divock Origi looked set to join the striker scrapheap at Anfield. Liverpool have, over the past decade, boasted a number of world class centre forwards – Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Mohamed Salah to name just three – but they have also been burdened with a number of duds.
Andy Carroll, Fabio Borini, Danny Ings, Christian Benteke, Iago Aspas and Rickie Lambert have all passed through the club, all failing to live up to their billing. For much of his time as a Liverpool player, it seemed that Origi was about to join such company. A lot has changed since then, though.
Wednesday saw the Belgian sign a new long term contract with the Merseyside club, putting pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at Liverpool for a good few years to come. But did he deserve such a show of faith? Might the Reds have been more ambitious in securing a back-up centre forward?
Of course, Origi earned his new contract on the back of his achievements towards the end of last season. His late winner against Newcastle United at St James’ Park kept Liverpool in the Premier League title race. More importantly, his double against Barcelona saw the Reds through to the Champions League final, with his goal against Spurs in the final sealing the win.
Many had written off Origi, expecting the 24-year-old to be sold by Liverpool at the end of the season. He appeared to be a misfit at Anfield. In truth, he still looks to be an awkward misfit, but he gives Jurgen Klopp’s team another dimension. He gives them an aerial presence, a different sort of target to hit.
“It’s a story really only football can write,” Klopp explained after the signing of Origi to another contract. ‘It didn’t really work out at Wolfsburg and, coming back, he was thinking about leaving. But he grew and grew and grew, in training sessions you could see it, and he scored unbelievably important goals. Now he is this wonderful player again so it’s great to have him.”
Some might argue that the signing of someone like Timo Werner would have made a greater statement of intent. After all, Liverpool still have a gap to close on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League. Will Origi really help them do that this coming season?
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