Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp discusses Thiago injury
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Liverpool may well have been handed a major transfer boost following the news that Newcastle are set to sign Burnley’s Chris Wood. The Magpies had reportedly earmarked Divock Origi as a potential target following injury to star striker Callum Wilson but the Reds can ill-afford to lose another option in attack.
Much of the talk at Anfield in recent months has surrounded how Jurgen Klopp’s side would cope in the absence of African Cup of Nations pair Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
The two strikers have accounted for a combined 33 goals so far this season and with both potentially missing for up to a month due to their international commitments, the Reds have found themselves somewhat light up top.
Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Origi have been left to hold the fort on the striking front for now and it is the latter who perhaps poses the most curious of conundrums for Klopp.
Having failed to establish himself as a first-team regular, Origi has proven to be a countless deputy time and time again, whenever he’s been called upon.
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From his dramatic Merseyside derby winner to his Barcelona brace and Champions League clinching strike against Tottenham, the Belgian marksman has cemented cult hero status and a special spot in the hearts of Reds fans across the globe.
The 26-year-old has netted a number of iconic strikes in recent seasons and, has more often than not, acted as the club’s crucial get-out-of-jail card.
This season, a late winner against Wolves and another goal in Liverpool’s memorable San Siro triumph over AC Milan have further underlined Origi’s importance to the Reds’ cause as well as his undoubted ability.
However, with the January transfer window in full flow and speculation rife, Liverpool’s stand-in striker looks set for an interesting month.
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While injury may have stunted his season at present and put pay to hopes Origi could take up the goalscoring mantle left by Salah and Mane’s temporary departures, the forward also faces the prospect of an Anfield exit.
Amid reported interest from Serie A and the Bundesliga, a recently bankrolled Newcastle have been widely documented as leading contenders in the race for Origi’s signature.
However, the Magpies £20m capture of Wood from relegation rivals Burnley should be seen as a massive boost for Klopp.
Though Eddie Howe’s men will no doubt continue their shopping spree this month, and may even look to acquire further firepower, the signing of Wood will surely see speculation linking Origi to St. James Park subside, even if it’s only slightly.
The Reds themselves are believed to be unwilling to meet the hefty release clause of Porto’s Luis Diaz, or Villarreal’s Arnaut Danjuma for that matter, and could find themselves in a serious spot of bother if they sell the striker.
The loss of Origi this January, and to Premier League opposition at that, just doesn’t make sense.
As Liverpool fight on all four fronts and with Covid-19 causing havoc with squads and fixtures up and down the country, letting a reliable striking replacement go could hamper the club’s hopes of silverware this season.
Amid talk of Origi’s contract coming to an end this summer despite claims his current deal includes an optional one-year extension, the forward is reportedly open to a move away and favouring a Premier League stay.
“(Origi) is an incredible striker and for different reasons he did not play that often, but I hope one day he finds a manager that plays him more than I do,” Klopp admitted after Origi scoring the Wolves winner on his 100th substitute appearance for the club.
“He’s one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen in my life. In this great team, with our (front) three, he doesn’t play all the time but he is a very positive boy, loves the club, wants to contribute and he did in an incredible way.”
Come the summer, it may be time for player and club to part ways but with everything that’s happening at Liverpool this month, now just doesn’t feel like the right time.
Who knows what twists and turns the next few weeks of the January transfer window might bring, but Reds fans should take solace in the fact the Magpies have swooped for someone else’s striker.
Origi’s Liverpool love affair looks set to continue. For now, anyway.
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