It’s been a curious Liverpool career for Divock Origi. The Belgian striker has never hit the heights that he expected when signing for the club back 2014. Origi arrived after at average season at Lille, spent an uneventful season and a half under Jürgen Klopp, was loaned out to VfL Wolfsburg where he only managed six goals in all of 2017/18, and somehow turned another season of being invisible into a regular gig in Klopp’s squad over the second half of the current campaign.
Origi credits a shift out wide left, instead of his usual central role, as the catalyst for his new usefulness to Klopp. As a winger, Origi has been more effective at taking on defensive players and running into space. He’s also looked assured linking up with Liverpool’s other attackers in the build-up play.
Origi is not going to supplant Sadio Mané in the starting XI, but he’s enjoying his chances and Klopp’s renewed faith.
“I loved that role. Even in the youth teams, I used to play up front and on the wing so I’m comfortable in both positions,” Origi told the Official LFC Magazine .
“People have maybe seen me more up front in the last couple of years but I totally love it on the wing as well.
“It is a squad game and, like I have always said, I try to shine my light whenever I get my opportunity.
“I enjoyed linking up with Sadio and Mo [against Watford] but of course they are top players which makes it easier for me and I think it was just about having fun.
“Being an offensive player, I like it when I have space in front of me. That’s always good and I think we turned in a really good performance that night.”
Origi is somehow only 23-years-old. I don’t know how this is possible given he seems to have spent a lifetime getting eye-rolled in my mind but it’s true. Origi is still a young player and Klopp has been trying to train him into a serious contender for minutes at Liverpool despite his ineffectual past. On evidence, that work is steadily paying off and Origi couldn’t be happier to be finally contributing.
“I focus on what I can do to help the team in whatever capacity that is. I just have to stay positive,” said Origi.
“I know that we have big goals so whatever role I am asked to play, I am happy to do that.
“Of course I am ambitious and I want to play as much as possible but the most important thing is our team and the team goals.”
A key to Origi’s play has been keeping his decisions simple. Find the easy pass, make the easy run, look for your quickly moving friend in red and make some magic happen together. Simple. Klopp has also reduced the pressure on Origi by getting him out of the center forward position where the compulsion to score can cloud decision-making in the final third.
It’s unknown whether or not Klopp sees a longer future at the club for Origi beyond this season but the manager is obviously hell-bent on getting everything he can out of the player in the meantime.