On paper, the numbers don’t look bad. On paper, Divock Origi has eight goals and four assists in 34 appearances across all competitions this season for Liverpool, a healthy return for a 21-year-old striker still learning his trade. That hasn’t stopped a creeping sense of disappointment.
Not because people don’t believe in Origi’s talent, but because it’s a similar return to last season, and what was in his first year a sign of promise for many is, in his second—his second year in England and a year older now—a sign of stagnation. Origi, though, has faith he will overcome.
"I know what I can do and I play at a top club,” Origi told the Belgian media as he and his international teammates prepare to face Greece in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday. “I believe in myself and I will get through, but sitting on the bench, there are times that you get down.”
Last season, in 33 total appearances, Origi had ten goals and three assists and managed a goal or assist every 125 minutes he was on the pitch. This year, he’s played in one more game but had slightly fewer minutes to date and has a goal or assist every 122 minutes.
It’s not a bad return by any measure, and with nine games to go in the season he should end up having played more minutes this season than last when it’s all said and done. But it will be a similar return. A similar number of minutes played. A similar goal involvement rate.
If there’s disappointment, it’s because his return last season was very solid and ihad many, including the player, expecting more this season. There’s still time to end the year on a high note, though, and show he can be a player the club rely on in a big way next season, and that’s Origi’s goal.
“All I can do is work hard,” he said. “That is still the goal with Liverpool. That’s my focus. It's a bit frustrating that I don't always get the chance to show my qualities. But I have to stay calm and work hard."