By Dave Davis – @DaveD0106
“Let’s be honest, he cannot play in the same way [Roberto] Firmino can.
“The only way I can say this is happening is because they were unable to find anybody that would be willing to sit on the bench, that would be happy to come in and play a bit-part role, and also the fact that Divock already understands the situation.” – Brian McBride
Harsh words from an ex-Blue, yet echoing those expressed by former Red Steve Nicol when discussing Divock Origi and his new contract.
Interestingly – and perhaps surprisingly – there have been many critical of the decision to renew the Belgian’s deal over the last week, but the pros certainly far outweigh the cons for Liverpool.
The 24-year-old’s penning of a long-term deal last week completes a rather impressive turnaround for a player once named in Ligue 1’s worst team of the season. It’s impossible not to respect the perseverance of a player who, last season, didn’t start his first league game until December, yet found himself a key part of Liverpool’s successful run-in.
“He [Origi] grew and grew and grew, in training sessions you could see it. Wow!” – Jurgen Klopp
The boss has proven before the emphasis he’ll place on players application in training and Liverpool’s No.27 clearly responded. Mental strength has always been something that Klopp values highly.
Origi’s stats from last season more than stand up to scrutiny. In just 763 minutes accumulated last season, the former Lille man struck eight times whilst providing a single assist. An average of a goal every 95 minutes is more than impressive, and the magnitude of certain strikes shouldn’t be ignored.
Any striker that notched a last-minute winner against their club’s arch-rivals as well as in a Champions League semi and then final would normally be revered. Numerous games have often seen him start on the left, which isn’t his natural position. Versatility isn’t a negative quality by any means.
McBride’s comments appear limited at best upon analysis too. I would challenge him to name another striker who provides the same attributes as Firmino… he’ll be there for a while.
Any absence of Liverpool’s No.9 means there’ll have to be a change in playing style. The club proved last season that it’s about getting the job done rather than the style. How many attackers would come to a club where the likes of Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah appear naturally entrenched in their positions?
The likes of Nicolas Pépé, Ousmane Dembélé and all others linked with Anfield are naturally likely to consider where they fit in when deciding upon any move – and they would all do well to dislodge one of Liverpool’s fabulous front-three.
Pure business-sense aside in protecting an asset that only had 12 months left on its current deal, squad strikers who can make an impact and are happy with their role can be hard to come by.
“We wanted to sign him again, to extend the contract, and the nice thing is he wanted to as well.” – Klopp
He is aware that Origi can provide a value to the club that may not be as easy to find elsewhere. A Prenton Park pitch invasion for a hero of Madrid should be seen as well-deserved. No-one at Anfield is in any doubt of the player’s value.