With Sadio Mané set to miss the rest of the season, Liverpool will need a player to step up in attack for the Senegalese star. Daniel Sturridge is on his way back from injury, Adam Lallana is out for a month, and Danny Ings is out for the season.
Divock Origi scored his first Premier League goal of 2017 and is likely to have a run in the team as Mané’s replacement. Assists against Burnley and Arsenal in recent games have hinted at the 21-year-old’s ability to make decisive contributions in the final third. Origi has experienced a mixed campaign, but the striker has shown that he can turn in impressive performances.
A scoring run in four consecutive games earlier in the season against Sunderland, Bournemouth, West Ham, and Middlesbrough suggests that Origi can profit against the type of teams that populate Liverpool’s remaining league fixtures. He was tremendous against Manchester City from the bench at the end of 2016 but appeared lethargic in the reverse fixture just before the international break. Is he ready to make the difference to help his club finish in the top four?
“I’m ready. I always said that I’m ready to be an important player for the team. I really believe it,” Origi said. “I’m not just an option for the future, I’m an option for now. I want to do everything to get in the team.
“The coach has several choices and that is only good for the team. The team is most important and we have to finish strong. I hope I can play a big part from now until the end of the season.”
One of the barriers to Origi showing his best is possibly accommodating Roberto Firmino, a noted Klopp favourite and key player. Will Jürgen Klopp trust Origi in the middle and shift Firmino out wide? Origi, though, believes in his qualities and is determined to become a “big option” for his club.
“I’m very ambitious and I believe in my qualities,” he said. “You have to put everything in and show it on the pitch. I always respect the decisions of the coach. The most important thing is to stay cool in the head and enjoy the game every time, play a part and help the team.
“Firmino has his way of playing and I have mine. That is why we have different choices – me, Daniel (Sturridge) and Firmino. It is good to have all these talented players. We have a very good group. I think the main thing for me is that I can be a big option for now and then it is up to the manager to choose.
“I’m very ambitious and my goal is to be a leader in this team. I think it is very possible. I won’t rest until I reach my goals and when I reach my goals I will set other goals.”
Origi replaced Mané and scored within minutes to secure victory in the Merseyside derby, but now he has a chance to remind everyone of the fine progress he made last season. He turns 22 later this month, and although he's still young, it sounds like Origi realises that the time to act is now.