Divock Origi: The man to partner Daniel Sturridge?

Is it time that Divock Origi plays alongside Daniel Sturridge up front for Liverpool? Sunday's game with Southampton could be a good game to test that idea out.

Divock Origi: The man to partner Daniel Sturridge?
Image Courtesy of Getty Images

Divock Origi, the 20-year-old Belgian international striker has been somewhat of a frustrating figure since his arrival to Liverpool in August of 2015 following last year's spell at his former employers Lille.

A brilliantly quick striker, forced to play left winger at times at his former club, he has floated between brilliance and a youthful need for refinement at times this season but has maintained a brilliant attitude and desire to learn.

However, despite his ups and downs, Origi should start against Southampton on Sunday, specifically next to Daniel Sturridge- and here's why:

A Statistical look: The man, the myth, the legend

Origi, is brilliantly quick, that is common knowledge. But just how quick? Well according to Opta Statisics, Origi's top speed of 35.15km per hour is trumped only by Leicester City duo Jeffrey Schlupp (35.26km/h) and Jamie Vardy (35.44km/h). 

Origi shines above his fellow Liverpool striking counterparts in a number of areas. At an average of 1.7 dispossessions per game, Origi retains the ball better than Robert Firmino (2.4) and Sturridge (2.3), while not being far behind his hulking Belgian counterpart Christian Benteke (1.1).

His passing accuracy, an average of 79.4% is also superior to that of Firmino (76.9%), Sturridge (75.5%), and Benteke (66.9%). His shooting accuracy is also excellent, despite his relatively low goal output at 71.4% compared to Sturridge (70%), Firmino (46.9%), and Benteke (41.2%).

Finally, he outperforms his teammates once again when it comes to his dribbling accuracy and ability, at 63.6% successful dribbles he beats Benteke (50%), Sturridge, (50%), and even the tricky Brazilian, Firmino (58.1%).  

Origi fails to impress in October

Despite the many superlatives that can describe Origi, he failed to impress in his first appearance versus Southampton, a 1-1 draw in October at Anfield.

Origi and Sturridge should be given more minutes together. (Picture: Getty Images)
Origi and Sturridge should be given more minutes together. (Picture: Getty Images)

He came off at half-time for eventual match-winner Benteke after failing to record a single shot. But why? Because he played up top, alone. The same can be said, to a lesser degree about Daniel Sturridge.

While a brilliant individual player, Sturridge has thrived when he has players next to or around him to work off of (Ex. Luis Suarez) or even Phillipe Coutinho in behind. If the two are paired together, it plays to the strengths of both individuals, and there's proof. (More on that later).

A flashback to December

Origi's energy and willingness to get into good positions to receive the ball seemed to have finally paid off, with fortunes in stark contrast to October's match, when he netted a hattrick in a 6-1 trouncing of Southampton in the League Cup Quarterfinal in December.

His partner on the day? None other than Daniel Sturridge, who himself netted a brace. The two worked in tandem together brilliantly. 

But rather than merely citing a one off, albeit brilliant performance, let's dig deeper into Liverpool's performance itself to highlight some of Origi's qualities and the reasons he deserves to start next to Sturridge.

While it's incredibly rare for a side such as Southampton, who've conceded the joint lowest number of goals in the Premier League all season to concede six goals in a single match - something that's unlikely to be repeated this time around, much can be said about the strategy and tactical match up that resulted in such a trouncing. 

There is something to be said about Origi's work rate, particularly when examining this match. While quite literally no one even comes close to James Milner's 12.29km per match, Liverpool's equalizing goal, a well taken shot by Daniel Sturridge (seen at 2:45 in the video below) is proof of Origi's willingness to work and how it tends to pay off for the Belgian and his teammates.

Furthermore his aerial ability is evident on Sturridge's second goal (3:46) when his challenge is latched onto by Lallana who passed to Can who assisted on the goal, all in quick succession.  

Although both of his Premier League goals were scored when Origi came off the bench, it's hard to say this proves statistically significant, having played a mere 11 Premier League matches all season, with just five of them starts.   

But the factors which will lead Jürgen Klopp to play or not play Divock Origi are more than a bit of gut and some statistics. Tactically, the move simply makes sense.

Liverpool will be capable of overloading the Southampton defense by creating a man to man match up should they play with two strikers, as opposed to just the one.

While Origi and Sturridge occupy Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk, who are solid defenders are not the quickest this will likely create space and opportunities for whomever plays behind them on the day, be it Coutinho, Firmino, or Adam Lallana to cause havoc.  

Meanwhile the presence of Jordan Henderson and Emre Can may be enough to occupy Victor Wanyama and Jordy Clasie, making the decision of when to drop and aide their centerbacks even more difficult.  

Tactics, statistics, gut. There are many reasons Origi should play, but in the end of course no man is bigger than the club and should Liverpool snatch three points from Southampton come Sunday - fans are sure to rejoice regardless.    

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