Given the injury woes of Daniel Sturridge in recent years, some Liverpool fans may well be scratching their heads over a loan move for Belgium international Divock Origi being sanctioned, with the player heading to Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg on a season-long loan, as confirmed on the club website.
Yet, looking into the finer details, it becomes quite easy to understand why this deal has been done. According to the Daily Mirror, a £6 million loan fee has been paid by the German club to secure Origi’s services, with no option to buy the player and a recall option available to be triggered in January, a move which clearly states that Liverpool’s intention in letting the player leave temporarily in order to allow him to gain regular football.
What do the stats say?
Origi has made 21 Premier League starts in 55 top-flight appearances for the Reds since his £10 million move from Lille back in 2014, and has netted 21 goals in all competitions, 12 of those coming in the league. His only appearance this campaign came in the opening day draw at Watford.
Much of his inclusion in and around the first-team has likely been down to Sturridge’s afore-mentioned injury woes, and in that time the Belgian has established himself as something of a goal source, although not prolific. He also has four Premier League assists from his four seasons at the club. He also holds a little-known Belgian national team record: he is their youngest ever goalscorer in a World Cup competition at 19 years of age, after scoring the winning goal at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in the group stage against Russia.
Has Origi fallen down the pecking order?
Undoubtedly the Belgian has done just that. With Sturridge now at full fitness and Roberto Firmino now functioning as a recognised centre-forward, Origi was always likely to play a bit-part role from the bench. The biggest blow to his prospects at Anfield, however, has been the arrival of Chelsea youngster Dominic Solanke earlier in the window. The England U20 international was part of the side that triumphed in the U20 World Cup in South Korea this summer, and has looked a real handful in pre-season, which appears to have put him ahead of Origi in Klopp’s plans.
Origi is currently third choice striker in the Belgian national team behind Christian Benteke and new Manchester United signing Romelu Lukaku, and with just 22 senior caps and three goals to his name and a World Cup around the corner, he will know he needs to be playing regular football to enhance his prospects.
Besides the fact that the Bundesliga club will be paying Origi’s wages during his stint in Germany, it is a move that vastly benefits both Liverpool and the player himself. Origi will benefit from regular football, and is a solid bet to score goals given his exploits in limited minutes with the Reds. The deal itself is also of vast benefit to the Merseysiders, not only due to the wage situation, but given that the Germans have no option to buy after the loan expires.
Origi, therefore, has the chance to enhance his reputation and his Belgium prospects ahead of the World Cup, and in the event regular football vastly benefits him, Liverpool know they’ll at least be getting him back at the end of the season, and even have the option to recall in January in the event of injuries; always a possibility with Daniel Sturridge.
That is without even considering what he offers Wolfsburg, and that is a player who has proven himself a capable finisher, with strong aerial ability who can make an impact from the bench as well as starting games. This is a deal which benefits the player and both clubs, and should Liverpool need him back the option is there. A shrewd piece of business from the Reds which may set aside funds for further deadline day deals.