Rumour and counter-rumour are always the order of the day on Twitter, but the latest one to actually catch my interest is the talk that Liverpool might pay Lille an additional fee in order to bring Divock Origi to Anfield in January, rather than in the summer as was originally agreed. But should they; how is he performing in Ligue 1, and how does that compare to the strikers already on Liverpool’s books? The below table shows how Origi has done for Lille in the league this season with regards to shots (excluding penalties) compared to Liverpool’s strikers, and I have also included his figures from last season (which includes his performance at the World Cup, and you can read more on this here) for reference too. The players are sorted by their conversion rates for all shots. There are two main things we can see here: 1) Origi is not performing as well as he did last season. 2) Origi is not doing any better than Liverpool’s current strikers. However, as always with stats we need to provide a little context. Lille finished 3rd this season yet are currently languishing in 12th (hmm, that drop sounds familiar…) and they haven’t been providing Origi with top quality opportunities; away from penalties, he has had just two big chances (“situations where a player should reasonably be expected to score usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range“) so far this season. It would also be fair to note that if you combine his two seasons together, then he has put 46% of his shots on target, scoring 30% of them, and netted 14% of his total shots, so overall he has demonstrated decent shooting stats in his short career so far. Perhaps more importantly, and as Liverpool have shown in their last couple of games, the Reds play far better with pace and movement up front, which is where Origi could definitely make a difference. Brendan Rodgers recently told the Liverpool Echo:
“I think if you look at how I ask teams to play speed is critical,” Rodgers said. “Not just with the ball, but the intensity with the pressing…“If you look at the team the other night against Bournemouth, you see the value of having that pace in the central area of the field,” Rodgers said. “First of all it allows you to press and it means that your game can be much more aggressive…“It gives you more chances of a goal, if you are winning it higher up the field, 25 to 30 metres from goal, you are going to create more chances.
Divock Origi is certainly capable of contributing in this regard. After completing 1.5 take-ons per ninety minutes last season, his figure has risen to 2.4 this season, which in comparison to the Reds squad puts him in third place behind Coutinho (3.8) and Sterling (3.3). He has also dribbled past an opponent in the penalty box every 226 minutes this season, which puts him pretty close to Daniel Sturridge’s figure of one every 206 minutes in 2013/14. He has also demonstrated an ability to win the ball high up the pitch too. Although his tally of seven final third regains in 12.5 games-worth of pitch time may not sound too impressive, if you consider that Daniel Sturridge only logged eleven of them in the whole of last season, when Liverpool were arguably the best pressing team in the division, then you can see that the young Belgian has been doing well for Lille. I am undecided as to whether or not Liverpool should pay extra money for a player they already own, as on current form he looks unlikely to contribute the goals that they so desperately need. But equally, I think that even if he doesn’t score many, he may enable the team as a whole to play better, and there’s no denying the Reds are crying out for that right now. Please check out my articles on Liverpool’s other transfer targets, and follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Scroll down to see the related posts for this article. Thanks.