The answer to Liverpool’s ‘SAS’ issue is right under their nose
With Raheem Sterling’s Liverpool future far from assured, and Daniel Sturridge belatedly proving Chelsea were right to sell him as injury follows injury, it’s clear boss Brendan Rodgers needs to freshen up his attack this summer.
Forward trio Fabio Borini, Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli, each of whom were signed by Rodgers at a combined cost of £40m over the past three summers, could all be shipped out at the end of this season, if there are any takers, having failed to fire at Anfield.
Talented Serbian speedster Lazar Markovic and homegrown winger Jordon Ibe should both be better in 2015/16 after decent turns for Liverpool this term, while PFA Player of the Year nominee Philippe Coutinho has worked well as a false nine in recent weeks.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Rodgers; lest we forget, Liverpool have been beaten just twice in the Premier League since mid-December, but reinforcements must be sought if Rodgers is to find the requisite improvement for a successful top-four challenge next season.
That being said, he already has one forward on the books who looks destined to make a big impact.
Belgium youngster Divock Origi burst on to the scene against Russia during the group stage of last summer’s World Cup, when grabbing the goal that saw his country through to the knockout rounds after replacing Everton’s Romelu Lukaku just before the hour mark for the second match running.
The then-19-year-old even started ahead of Lukaku in Marc Wilmots’ side’s last-16 clash with USA, which they won 2-1, and Belgium’s 1-0 semi-final loss to Argentina.
Liverpool snapped him up for £10m after the samba jamboree before loaning him back to Lille for the season, where he is perceived to have had an underwhelming campaign, going 22 games without a goal between October and March.
However, Origi’s seven Ligue 1 goals is the highest tally of any Les Dogues player in 2014/15, as is eight in all competitions, and the Kenyan-born striker’s mediocre haul is hardly surprising considering the team he plays for.
Lille have prided themselves on having one of Europe’s most teak-tough defences for some time now, and only let in three more than French champions Paris Saint-Germain last term, Ligue 1’s lowest conceders, despite finishing 16 points behind Laurent Blanc’s side.
Inevitably, the other side of their game has suffered; Rene Girard’s men posted only the joint ninth-highest goals-for tally in the French top flight last season, yet finished third.
That being said, Origi has delivered when played in his preferred centre-forward berth, with WhoScored.com attributing all seven of the loanee’s league goals this term to the 18 games he has occupied that role in.
As luck would have it, Liverpool are desperate for a quick, central striker who can get on the end of things. It seems he’s definitely on the way.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.