Should Daniel Sturridge or Divock Origi be Liverpool's first choice striker this season?
When originally signed in the summer of 2014 after an impressive World Cup campaign, Divock Origi was a young upstart with little experience and an inconsistent record at Lille in Ligue 1. On the other hand, Daniel Sturridge was the man of the moment. One half of the deadly SAS duo which took the Premier League by storm as Liverpool so nearly won their first Premier League title in over two decades.
Now, fortunes have changed. Last season, whilst Daniel Sturridge spent most of his time in the medical room, completing 90 minutes just ten times all season, Divock Origi took over and notched ten goals in 33 games for the Reds before a nasty challenge in the Merseyside derby put an end to his season early, just as the Belgian hit the best form of his time at Anfield after a stuttering start.
As such, it would be easy to point to Divock Origi as the more suitable first choice. This is where it is important to mention that whilst Sturridge did manage just 25 appearances, eight fewer than Origi, he did score thirteen goals. Netting three more times than Origi is in part down to the shots per game ratio of the two, with Sturridge’s average last season of 3.4 a big improvement on Origi’s 1.5 shots per game, but consequently also reducing his conversion ratio.
Based solely on statistics, you could therefore say that Sturridge would be the more prolific choice, but Jurgen Klopp will have to use his best man-management skills to handle the situation. With Sturridge at what should be the peak of his career at 26, and Origi a young player with bags of potential at 21, neither will want to be spending time watching from the touch-line, and Liverpool cannot afford to risk alienating either, particularly Origi.
Much will likely depend on the form and fitness of the two players in pre-season, with both returning in recent weeks after extended absences following Euro 2016. Both featured in the recent tie against AC Milan, with Origi netting an impressive goal, showing an exciting level of sharpness in only his first match with the team since that fateful Merseyside derby. Most importantly, both will be hoping to avoid picking up any injuries or knocks during this preparatory phase which could see them miss the start of the season.
It is hard to imagine that either striker will be consigned to a place on the bench, with rotation between the two most likely, one playing behind the other, or even with either deployed in a wider role to accommodate the talents of both. With the likes of Danny Ings waiting in the wings, there will certainly be no shortage of competition, and both players will be hoping to kick off the season at the top of their game if they are to retain a first team place under Jurgen Klopp.
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