Liverpool look set to recall 19 year-old Belgian striker Divock Origi from loan at Lille in a bid to add fresh impetus to their season. Liverpool signed the striker last summer when in a much better position than they currently find themselves, so they could afford the luxury of leaving the pacey front man at Lille for another season of development.
Should the Reds recall?
Brendan Rodgers’ men almost wrestled the Premier League title away from Manchester City and in Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge the reds still retained two thirds of their deadly attacking trident but they are now among the outsiders for the 2014-15 crown.
However, while losing Luis Suarez was always on the cards, the injury to Daniel Sturridge and increased pressure on Raheem Sterling has seen Liverpool flounder in mid table for the last four months. Rodgers needs a striker and needs one quick.
So what can Divock Origi bring to the table if he arrives on Merseyside earlier than expected? Well, his stats this season for Lille paint a very ordinary picture with just three league goals in 16 games. But there are mitigating circumstances.
A poor side
Lille, while boasting one of their most exciting youngsters on the continent, have one of their poorest squads in a long time and have struggled at the wrong end of the table for the best part of the season.
The French outfit also run a close parallel with Liverpool in terms of looking towards to a 19 year old to dig them out of trouble week in and week out, when in fact players like Sterling and Origi need to be playing alongside top quality and experienced men to coax out improvement of their own.
Fans on Merseyside, the blue half at least, got a glimpse of Origi first hand when Everton trounced Lille 3-0 in the Europa League and would have been left wondering what all of the fuss was about. The Belgian had a bad game and in fact was booed by his own fans against Wolfsburg in the Europa League earlier this year.
Out on the flank
But let’s not forget, the current Lille striker has also been playing out wide this season as opposed to his more favoured central berth, so this has somewhat skewed his performances and goals scored tally. And there is a feeling from the Lille fans that while Origi is an exciting prospect; he has yet to achieve anything of note in Ligue 1.
But take nothing away from his skillset, he still remains a teenager with immense promise (he finished runner-up to Raheem Sterling in the Golden Boy award) and he has electrifying pace that would dovetail perfectly with Sterling and Sturridge.
To counter balance his poor performances for Lille this season, Liverpool fans should look towards his time with the Belgian national team and in particular the recent World Cup where he was preferred to start ahead of the man mountain Romelu Lukaku.
Origi managed to chip in with a goal in the 1-0 win against Russia and dazzled the fans with his electrifying pace and trickery - there was a sense that the boy is a special talent every time he got the ball in Brazil.
Nevertheless, the imminent arrival of the 19 year-old Belgian striker could spell trouble for Mario Balotelli, who has seen his game time limited at Anfield in recent weeks as Rodgers persists with playing Sterling as the focal point up front, which leaves Mario kicking his heels on the bench.
Likewise, Rickie Lambert’s game time will be impacted too as the scouser will fall further down the pecking order. However, it’s Balotelli who will be edging closer to the Anfield exit door should a decent offer come in for the Italian.
Lille, of course, would be keen to keep hold of Origi until the end of the season but the 19 year-old already seems to be thinking of Anfield.