It’s fair to say the majority of Liverpool fans weren’t exactly salivating over Divock Origi’s deferred Anfield arrival last summer, but to the Belgian striker’s credit, his stature had grown steeply by the end of his first season on Merseyside.
Origi, who only turned 21 in April, laid down a healthy debut-season marker of 10 goals in 33 appearances and relished a principal role in Liverpool’s pursuit of the Europa League trophy, scoring home and away against Borussia Dortmund in the quarters.
Once Jurgen Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers last October on the promise of delivering ‘rock and roll football’, it didn’t take much time for the athletic forward to endear himself to the manager, given his willingness to work tirelessly off the ball.
Although he was not placed on lead guitar that often in the Premier League, a Capital One Cup hat-trick at Southampton just before Christmas last year shattered a few amplifiers and acted as a watershed moment for the former Lille man.
It was an eye-catching way to kick-start Origi’s Liverpool career and once he had strung together five goals in as many games during April, Kopites had come round to the idea they may have a very handy player on their hands after all.
However, Klopp’s faith in his youngster’s ability could be in for a stern examination given the latest rumours swirling around the mill.
The well-informed football folk at Bleacher Report, as well as the Daily Mirror among others, report that Diego Simeone has Origi’s name near the top of his summer transfer target list.
It would appear that the Belgium international has caught the Atletico Madrid boss’s attention and, after his Champions League runners-up had hopes of Diego Costa making a return to the Vicente Calderon dashed by Chelsea, Origi could be their next port of call.
Depending on the size of any proposed fee – the Reds paid Lille £10m – Klopp may have a decision to make, but it seems most sensible to rebuff the Spanish club’s advances.
If there is one striker who is surplus to requirements at Anfield, then surely that’s Origi’s compatriot Christian Benteke, whom Klopp didn’t trust to play his preferred system.
Even with a fit-again Danny Ings scoring a few in pre-season and replenishing Klopp’s striker stocks for the start of 2016/17, selling Origi after he displayed such potential doesn’t seem to be that smart a move.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.