Divock Origi was the name on everyone’s lips after a promising 2015/16 campaign saw the Belgian start in the Europa League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund – scoring in both legs.
Quick off the ground and dogged in his pressing, the Belgian seemed ideally suited to Klopp’s attacking style of play.
Then came 2016/17 – a season full of what could’ve been rather than what was. Struggling to hit the heights he did during the previous campaign, Origi found it hard to establish himself as a first-team regular.
Inconsistencies embodied his year, with good moments including a sublime finish from a tight angle against Bournemouth being undone by his inability to hold up possession in the big games.
Statistically, Origi averaged 1.87 take-ons per ninety minutes in 2015/16 alongside a shot accuracy of 71% – both of which make for far better reading than his record the following year where he achieved 0.9 take-ons and a shot accuracy of just 48%.
BREAKING: Liverpool confirm that Divock Origi has joined Wolfsburg on loan.
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) August 31, 2017
Occupying a peripheral role, Origi’s career has stalled somewhat in the last few months, with Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge above him in the pecking order.
Dominic Solanke’s arrival on Merseyside merely confounded problems for the Belgian, who didn’t even make the bench for Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Arsenal last weekend.
The club have now confirmed he will move on loan to Wolfsburg for the 2017/18 campaign, with Klopp keen to send Origi abroad rather than Newcastle and Tottenham – two of several interest Premier League clubs.
It’s a move that makes a lot of sense for the striker, with his father confirming his need for more regular first-team football – something he was unlikely to receive at Liverpool this season.
Mohamed Salah’s arrival earlier in the transfer window increased competition for places out wide while Dominic Solanke’s pre-season form seems to have caught Klopp’s eye more than Origi.
As is the case with any young player, the Belgian still has a lot to learn in order to become a top-quality striker for The Reds. 11 goals last season was a decent return given the nature of his appearances, but there were aspects to his all-round performances that were far less pleasing.
Origi’s hold up play makes for a clear example, struggling to fend off physical defences and bring his teammates into play in the manner he had done during 2015/16.
Important for Divock Origi: guaranteed minutes. He needs to play if he wants to be part of Belgium WC squad. #LFC
— Kristof Terreur 📰 (@HLNinEngeland) August 31, 2017
Improvements in those areas can only come from increased game time and with Wolfsburg short on options going forward, Origi is set to have far better fortunes in Germany.
It remains to be seen whether he operates as a natural striker or on the wing as has been the case for Liverpool, but having featured for just nine minutes in the opening month of the 2017/18 campaign, he needed a move away from Anfield.
Liverpool insisted on a clause allowing them to recall Divock Origi from Wolfsburg in January if necessary
— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) August 31, 2017
With a loan fee of £6million and the ability to recall him in January should Klopp need some reinforcements, it’s a deal that makes perfect sense for the player and club.
Origi is clearly a striker with huge potential, but a severe lack of game time has seen his progression stall massively. Perhaps some exposure to regular first-team football will allow us to see just what he can offer in the years to come.