The latest Liverpool transfer rumour that refuses to die is that the Reds are looking to sign Divock Origi, a 6ft 2″ nineteen year-old who plays in France for Lille, and who recently scored a late winner for Belgium against Russia at the World Cup.
Any statistics you read in this article do have to be taken with a shovel full of salt. Origi only played 1,286 minutes last season (which is a little over fourteen games of pitch time), and Ligue 1 isn’t as strong as the Premier League. Eighteen of his thirty appearances were from the bench, which isn’t great for analysis purposes, as it can have both positive and negative effects; a player may benefit from facing tired opponents, or come on in a match that is effectively over and so little of note happens through no fault of the sub.
His samples for the various metrics are obviously small, so it would be foolish to extrapolate them and assume that he could do a lot of damage for a full season in England. Yet all of that said, the figures from his limited time certainly suggest that the young man has a lot of potential.
As Origi is a forward, the first thing to look at is his ability in front of goal, both with big chances and also all of his shots.
The conversion rate for big chances is approximately 40%, so you would expect Origi to have scored two of his five ‘sitters’, yet the Belgian international has bagged three. Similarly, all shots are scored at a rate of about 10%, with shots on target converted at 30%, yet the nineteen year old’s figures are 23% and 43% respectively. Including his efforts at the World Cup, up to and including the last-sixteen match with USA, Origi’s figures are 19% and 33%.
Around 33% of all shots in the Premier League are on target, with Liverpool posting the second best rate in 2013/14 (39.7%), but Origi has tested goalkeepers with 54% of his efforts at goal to date. Again, if we factor in his international exploits in Brazil, the figure rises slightly to 57%. His top flight and international career may amount to just thirty-seven shots so far, but the limited evidence suggests that he’s a player able to frequently test opposition goalies when given the opportunity.
It’s also worth noting that Origi’s league goals for Lille have been crucial ones rather than adding a gloss to big victories. He has bagged the winner in two 1-0s, the first goal in a 2-0 (where the second was scored in injury time), the equaliser in a 1-1 twice and the first equaliser in a 2-2 draw. Don’t forget that he has the winner in a World Cup game under his belt too.
Nine of his twelve league starts this season came as a wide forward or attacking midfielder, so I was also interested to see how Origi fared in terms of dribbling and creating opportunities for others. Here’s a reminder of the zones on the pitch I use for compiling location information.
Here are Origi’s dribbling location and frequency statistics, compared to other players who I have collected the data for.
We can see that whilst the young man may not successfully go past a player too often at present, at least it can be said that he does tend to do so in dangerous areas of the field when he does. It has been noted in this article that:
His decision-making was the one aspect of his game that was criticised and Origi acknowledged towards the end of the season that he needed to develop more composure, especially with his final passes.
Perhaps with further experience he will make better choices with regards to his dribbling? Although the above piece says his final passes needs work, his chance creation stats suggest to me that he is on the right track.
Notice how Origi created open play chances in the centre of the box more regularly than Coutinho; this will be partly down to the differing positions that they play, but it’s still no mean feat for a nineteen year old with minimal experience to do so.
Whilst Sterling is the same age and has better figures, we have to bear in mind that Lille scored fewer than half as many league goals as Liverpool did last season (forty-six, as opposed to 101) so for Origi to post broadly similar numbers suggests to me that he is pretty handy in the final third. Look at it another way; in a less potent team, Origi has offered more than Sturridge has in creative terms, and that won’t have been easy.
The above article I linked to mentions how Origi is fluent in four languages, and is (according to his teammates) “smart and focused and unlikely to be distracted by the acclaim he is now receiving”. With a sharp mentality allied to the above statistics, I think Liverpool might be on the verge of securing a very exciting prospect indeed.