Ahead of Liverpool’s second Europa League assignment of the season, Brendan Rodgers has strongly hinted that Daniel Sturridge will not be risked against FC Sion, opening a window of opportunity for a seldom-seen squad member.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference Rodgers suggested the club had to ensure they didn’t “break” Sturridge as the delicate striker continued his return to full fitness.
The England forward lit up Anfield with a wonderful double to down Aston Villa at the weekend, but the bubble wrap is sure to be rolled out for Thursday night.
Protection of Sturridge, and the injury to Christian Benteke, bode well for Divock Origi, who was granted his only start for Liverpool so far on Europa League duty in Bordeaux.
Sadly for the Belgian, Origi forfeited that chance to make a big impression on proceedings.
However, judging by further Rodgers’ comments in his Melwood address to the media, chances of a second start in the competition for the former Lille man are enriched.
“Our approach to this game is how it’s been in the competition – this is an opportunity for young players and an opportunity for players on the fringe of the team that aren’t getting so many games,” said Liverpool’s manager.
After a deferred arrival from Ligue 1, Origi has clearly slid down the pecking order to fourth choice of four strikers on the Anfield roster, behind Benteke, Sturridge and Danny Ings.
The latter fired his first two Liverpool goals in successive matches in league and cup, earning himself a first full 90 minutes of the season against Villa.
Depending on formation Ings may get another start at Anfield to stoke his confidence levels further, though Rodgers may also feel it’s a risk.
For Origi, opportunities are only likely to come in this competition currently, so the onus is firmly on the Belgian World Cup star to produce the goods.
Origi is the joint 7/2 favourite alongside Ings to break the deadlock against the Swiss visitors, a 23/20 chance to score his maiden Reds goal any time and 15/8 to net as part of a Liverpool victory.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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