The Divock Origi conundrum Jurgen Klopp & Liverpool can't afford to ignore 🧐
The Belgian international has been a consistently reliable performer from the bench for Liverpool - how on earth do you replace him?
“Divock Origi, Divock Origi, Divock Origi,” sang the Anfield crowd as Jurgen Klopp ushered the Belgian international onto the touchline and wrapped an arm about his shoulders in a fatherly embrace.
A bear hug, emblematic of the German’s full approval, would come later after the No.27’s latest stellar showing against perhaps his favourite prey - Everton Football Club.
The impact from the Liverpool forward was almost comedically instantaneous.
After standing the ball up for Mohamed Salah to chip a beautiful assist for Andy Robertson’s deadlock-breaker, the former Lille hitman pounded in his own header in the second-half to add to the Scot’s opener.
If you could have bottled both the collective tension release across the stadium as the left-back’s effort struck the net and the unbridled delight at seeing the Reds’ cameo hero add to the visitors’ misery, you would end up with a vintage beyond compare.
Make no mistake: the final half hour of action during the Merseyside derby was the Divock Origi show.
With only seven games left for the club to compete in this season (eight if Liverpool can manage to overcome Villarreal in the Champions League over two legs), however, the 26-year-old’s time with us is quickly running out.
The expectation, as EOTK Insider understands, is that the forward will seek pastures new in the summer once his contract runs out, with AC Milan the reported frontrunners for his signature.
With nine goal contributions in 16 games this term (across all competitions) - a rate of one goal or assist every 62.55 minutes - Liverpool unquestionably have the most deadly backup option for the frontline since David Fairclough.
David Fairclough (Liverpool - 1975-1983): the definitive super sub
With such a remarkable rate of contribution on the pitch, the neutral viewer understandably may be inclined to wonder why the frontman doesn’t feature more regularly.
The obvious initial answer is that Origi is competing with arguably the most impressive array of attacking options in world football in Salah, Sadio Mané, Diogo Jota, Bobby Firmino and winter signing Luis Díaz.
That collection of forwards has registered 113 goal contributions in 181 appearances (across all competitions) in the 2021/22 season.
Divock Origi’s task in unseating one of the five for a shot at a place within the front-three isn’t just tough - it’s damn near-insurmountable.
Add on top some analysis from Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football, in which our former centre-half demonstrated the hitman’s value as a substitute, and it becomes clear that the cameo appearance was tailor-made for Origi at Liverpool.
Pictures courtesy of Sky Sports and Monday Night Football
At a different club, under a different system and manager, perhaps that might be different but the stats otherwise paint a clear picture of the Belgian’s time at Anfield under Jurgen Klopp.
All of this does raise a very pertinent question for the German (and potentially his recruitment team) come the summer.
How on earth do you replace Divock Origi?
Names have been tossed about left, right and centre with regard to the prospect of filling in Salah’s boots should the Egyptian be tempted away from Merseyside at the end of the term or the next once his contract expires.
Yet, there seems to be little in the way of consideration for how Liverpool may go about replicating the six-goal star’s specific skill-set beyond the end of his stay at the side.
Takumi Minamino’s Carabao Cup heroics have hinted at the possibility of him taking up the mantle of the Merseysiders’ next cameo king, though his achievements have yet to match up to the scale of occasions Origi has played a critical role in.
Could the Japanese international play a decisive part in a Champions League semi-final when the stakes are so high as to inspire a nervous breakdown among mere mortals?
That’s an unfair question, of course, given the spectacular nature of a game of the likes of which we may not witness for another decade or more.
Some will undoubtedly be quick to shut down such discussions and point to the prolific options we have, and will continue to have, at our disposal beyond the No.27’s departure this summer.
Perhaps they’d be right to.
Though, Jurgen Klopp’s long embrace with the modern Liverpool super sub would appear to paint a very different picture.
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