Death, taxes, Daniel Sturridge’s injuries and ridiculous comments from Donald Trump. There are few certainties in life, but there are four of them.
And whilst Trump’s hair provides a little light relief, there’s an overwhelming feeling of sadness about the latest Sturridge blow – a hamstring strain this time – which is going to rule the gifted forward out of Liverpool’s fixtures up to and beyond Christmas according to reports. In truth, you can’t really say when he’ll be back with much confidence.
It means that the two-goal performance in the League Cup destruction of Southampton was just another false dawn, like his brace in September’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa before it. Each one of those four goals, so clinically dispatched, now serves as a ‘what might have been’ for Reds supporters. How Sturridge’s continued absence will affect the club’s season as a whole remains to be seen.
Yet there was hope elsewhere in attack in that Southampton game, as a figure who seemed to have set up camp on the periphery of events suddenly shot to front and centre.
We’re putting two and two together and ending up somewhere north of Divock Origi’s squad number of 27 here, but the Belgian forward’s slight touch to Alberto Moreno’s fiercely struck shot just before half-time at St Mary’s last week might end up being one of the more important goals of Liverpool’s season.
It put the Reds 3-1 up and created clear daylight in a match that they would go on to run away with, but it also made Origi a Liverpool goalscorer – a status he enjoyed so much that he went on and became one twice more in the second half, and the 92nd different man to score a hat-trick for Liverpool.
Was it the sign of a change in fortunes or just a night where everything he touched turned to goals? Whatever it was, Jurgen Klopp might be wise to try and tap into the Belgian’s hot streak before it cools down, as the 20-year-old’s importance in his plans has just grown substantially.
He was important to the German from the very beginning of course, as injuries to Christian Benteke, Danny Ings and, yes, Sturridge ensured that the forward started each one of Klopp’s first four games in charge. He ran, he hustled, he hurried, but he didn’t do much else, and he was cast aside until that remarkable comeback to the side at Southampton.
Initially playing a little off Sturridge in a ‘second wave’ of attack with Adam Lallana, Origi’s fortunate goal on the stroke of half-time seemed to instil a huge degree of confidence in him, and by the time he was thrust up top to replace Sturridge in the last half hour he was flying.
His second goal at St Mary’s was emphatic, and the third showed a real goalscorer’s desire to get on the end of Brad Smith’s cross. From almost total timidity he now looked like he was ready to take on the world.
So get him in the team, then, starting with the Europa League clash in Sion on Thursday, where playing him just off fellow countryman Benteke to begin with could be an idea which has crossed Klopp’s mind. Then, if all goes to plan, replace and repeat at home to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. Liverpool need as many goalscorers on the pitch as possible at the moment, and Origi is one of less than a century of people to have scored three in a game for them.
No-one’s saying that he is primed to go on the type of scoring run which will make Reds fans forget all about Sturridge, but after a couple of months where he looked to be intimidated by his surroundings he should suddenly be oozing confidence. He’s even been telling Liverpool’s official website about how he plans to celebrate his other goals.
With Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino also around it might be that Origi has to make this impact from the bench, but if he can do that in the manner that the likes of Javier Hernandez or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer used to do for Manchester United, or even David Fairclough back in the day for Liverpool, then he’ll suddenly become invaluable to Klopp.
It’s far from one of life’s certainties, but Origi could yet have a big say in Liverpool’s season, as well as prove an old, but slightly altered football cliché correct.
Once one goes in off the end of your toe, the goals will start flowing.
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