Divock Origi has established himself as the man for the big occasion at Liverpool over the last 12 months.
Whether it’s nodding in the winner in a Merseyside Derby, scoring twice against Barcelona in that remarkable Champions League come back or securing the European Cup in the final itself, Origi has earned himself a cult-like status among Reds’ fans this past year.
It has been quite the turnaround in fortune for the 25-year-old Belgian who has gone from finding himself shipped out on loan to the Bundesliga, to scoring the decisive goal in a Champions League final all in the space of a year.
These moments have seen him become the go-to man when it comes to replacing one of Liverpool’s formidable front three whether it be due to injury or squad rotation.
His ability to be deployed out wide or in a central position has also seen him become the club’s first-choice attacking threat off the bench.
But with Liverpool now confirmed as Premier League champions and still officially holders of the Champions League do they require deputies of higher quality in these attacking areas?
Despite reports suggesting Liverpool are set for a quiet summer in terms of transfers, the club should not simply stand still.
When looking back at the great Premier League teams over the years (think Ferguson’s Manchester United or Mourinho’s Chelsea) they’ve always built on their success.
Signing players to keep the squad competitive is vital when looking to defend a league title. While there are no obvious weaknesses in Liverpool’s squad and Klopp is unlikely to allow complacency to creep into their game, it is expected that other clubs will strengthen this summer and Liverpool need to stay on their toes.
This is exactly why Timo Werner would have been such a good fit at the club. As well as being a genuinely world-class talent who would enhance the squad it would mean Liverpool had another option to choose from and wouldn’t have to rely solely on Salah, Firmino and Mane.
While the postponement of the African Cup of Nations works in Liverpool’s favour signing Werner would have been perfect for the Reds.
This brings us neatly back to Origi. Removing all sentiment he is simply not good enough to be a regular back-up for the front three. While his big moments are well documented and will never be forgotten, for a team who have just won the Premier League his numbers leave a lot to be desired.
This season he’s scored just three times in the league, five times in all competitions. But statistics can be misleading so it is important to also examine his performances when he is selected.
Most recently he started ahead of Roberto Firmino in Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Aston Villa. It was clear that Origi does not influence matches in the same way his fellow forward players do, too often going missing during games and not making things happen when he’s on the ball.
While it would be harsh to describe Origi as a ‘passenger’ during certain matches it is hard to deny that he does not have the same influence or ability as the other three players.
Origi is a handy back-up to have. But relying on him alone is not enough. The same goes for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Minamino who look good in midfield but less effective in the front three positions.
With all this considered Liverpool really could do with signing a new attacking player to add to the squad depth.
As well as relieving some pressure on the regular front three it may also make the likes of Origi up their game and grasp opportunities when they do come along.
Origi’s achievements Liverpool shouldn’t and won’t be forgotten. But on the evidence, we’ve seen this season he is not the right man to step in for the outrageous talents of Liverpool’s front three.