Player Focus: Divock Origi’s defence-stretching play key vs. Man City


Taking Daniel Sturridge‘s place in the Liverpool starting lineup on Wednesday night, Divock Origi was central to the Reds’ 3-0 win over Manchester City.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 2, 2016: Liverpool's Divock Origi in action against Manchester City during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Sturridge having endured cramp in the latter stages of Sunday’s League Cup final loss to Manuel Pellegrini’s side, Jurgen Klopp opted to leave the centre-forward out of his squad for the Reds’ return to the Premier League.

This saw Origi lead the line, as Liverpool dominated the title challengers over 90 frenetic minutes on Merseyside.

Goals from Adam Lallana, James Milner and Roberto Firmino sealed the three points, but in a performance of all-round quality from Klopp’s side, many others stood out.

One such player was Origi, whose defence-stretching play in the centre-forward’s role proved key.


Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 2, 2016: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the third goal against Manchester City during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After 120 minutes of action and a crushing defeat at Wembley on Sunday, Klopp made five changes to his Liverpool side, bringing in Origi alongside Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Kolo Toure and Jon Flanagan.

The German persevered with his 4-2-3-1 setup, however, with Origi supported by a fluid attacking midfield of Lallana, Milner and Firmino, switching roles throughout.

With Emre Can in inspired form at the base of the midfield, and City sluggish from the first whistle, Liverpool were able to dominate.

A high-intensity pressing game saw the Reds snap into 50-50s, harry City’s midfielders off the ball and quickly surge forward into attack.

Liverpool 4-2-3-1 vs. City

While it took 34 minutes for Lallana to break the deadlock, Liverpool’s dominance ensured this was something of a foregone conclusion.

Throwing on two extra strikers in the second half in Wilfried Bony and Kelechi Iheanacho, Pellegrini pushed desperately for a response from his side, but his efforts proved futile.

This signalled a marked shift in momentum from Sunday’s cup final, with Liverpool very much the underdog at Wembley; on their own turf, the Reds were able to dominate, and win comfortably.

While the absence of Sturridge seemed like a risk by Klopp ahead of the game, Origi’s performance belied this notion.


Divock Origi

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 22, 2015: Liverpool's Divock Origi in action against Rubin Kazan during the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fielded as a No. 9 in a malleable attacking system, Origi was primed with a varied role at the tip of Klopp’s forward line.

Stationing himself between centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi, the 20-year-old looked to utilise his pace and power to latch onto high balls behind the City defence, with Jordan Henderson launching direct passes into attack in the opening stages.

4' - Origi run vs. City

Dropping deep when City were in possession, Origi signalled his intentions picking the ball up near the centre circle in the fourth minute, driving towards Pellegrini’s back line.

This saw Origi look to get the ball forward quickly and put Kompany and Otamendi under the pressure, and while he was thwarted on this occasion, it proved a useful tactic.

7' - Origi pressure vs. City

As Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy has highlighted throughout 2015/16, chasing lost causes is a crucial component of a modern centre-forward’s game in a pressing system, and Origi kept the pressure on City’s centre-backs throughout.

14' - Origi running the channels vs. City

53' - Origi creating space vs. City

The ex-Lille man spent the majority of the evening drifting into wide areas, dragging Kompany and Otamendi out of position and opening space for his team-mates.

Lallana, Milner and Firmino’s goals were all aided by the intelligent movement of Origi, with the overlapping, third-man runs of his attacking midfielders leaving the City back line overwhelmed.

34' - Origi creating space vs. City

41' - Origi creating space vs. City 2

57' - Lallana overlap with Origi vs. City

His role in Lallana’s opener was perhaps most characteristic of this approach, with both Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta pulled out of position by his diagonal run into the box.

This left the England international time and space to surge forward and send a low effort beyond Joe Hart.

Origi Touches vs. City

Origi only touched the ball 22 times during his time on the field on Wednesday night, but it was his intelligent movement and work rate that made the difference as Liverpool’s midfield shone.

With Liverpool cruising by the hour mark, Klopp withdrew Origi after 69 minutes, replacing the No. 27 with his compatriot, Christian Benteke.

The tempo had dropped by this point, but with the likes of Joe Allen continuing to employ this dynamic attacking approach, making third-man runs beyond the City defence, the contrast between Origi and Benteke became clear.

78' - Benteke static vs. City

An unused substitute in Sunday’s League Cup final defeat, Benteke was tasked with reclaiming his starting role by Klopp ahead of this Anfield clash, and the £32.5 million looked desperate to impress.

But while he held the ball up well and brought team-mates into the game, his tendency to stay on the shoulder of City’s defence saw Liverpool’s fast-paced attacking play break down.

In 21 minutes on the field, Benteke did little to stake his claim for a starting role on Sunday against Crystal Palace, with Origi having proved his credentials as backup to Sturridge.


A Long-Term Role

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 2, 2015: Liverpool's Divock Origi celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Southampton during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After struggling to impose himself in Sunday’s League Cup final, Kompany will have been disappointed to have failed to shackle Origi as Liverpool dominated City at Anfield.

The City captain is unlikely to have been surprised by how effective his Belgium team-mate proved, however.

Speaking months after Liverpool announced their £10 million deal to sign Origi from Lille in 2014, Kompany described the striker as “a monster.”

“If he continues in this way,” he continued, “in a few years he will be among the five or ten best strikers in the world.”

Standing at 6’1″ and blessed with considerable pace, Origi is well placed to develop into a complete centre-forward, with Klopp’s focus on his development pointing towards a bright future.

At just 20 years old, and producing intelligent performances such as on Wednesday night, Origi is primed for star status at Liverpool.

Against City at Anfield, Origi was selfless, hardworking, measured and hugely effective.

In outshining Benteke once again, he may have convinced Klopp further that he is the right man to provide competition for Sturridge in the Liverpool attack.


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  1. The reason we do well against big sides is they also attack and leave lots of space around their box for us to exploit… and our pressing disrupt their own attacking game…
    Against smaller sides, MU included when opponents keep compact defense we struggle: there’s no space to exploit, pressing is not effective as opponents dont play creative football…
    When they press back our creativity suffers…
    Then individual quality is essential… players like Gerrard, Suarez, Studge can unlock tight defenses while the likes of Coutinho, Firmino and Lallana find it difficult…
    I guess this is where Klopp should use Benteke more effectively and he needs wingers who can cross to him… Unfortunately atm Origiis not as good as Coutinho, Firmino or Lallana when we have space to attack… And Origi is not effective when it’s tight as he needs to use hid pace to play well…
    He will improve but until then his game time is limited… when forwards cant score it means troubles.

    • Absolutely. More direct teams who keep it tight in defence and bypass the midfield with longer balls when attacking continually pose problems for us.

  2. Got the strength of Benteke plus great movement in leading the line. I saw him first on World Cup 2014. His first goal comes with his first hat-trick. Amazing

  3. a striker with movement. makes such a difference. citeh may not have been on it but the space was opened up by our movement.

    Benteke is a slow learner it seems and will never have some of the necessary movement which is quite incredible really but then its incredible that BR never thought it was necessary to have wide players/wingers and crossing ability.

    Ings will do well with his attitude and movement too and he’s a little more direct than Origi.

    Sturridge wasn’t great at all at Wembley, though space was snuffed out by a deep lying citeh team, yet he didn’t do much in movement other than come deep unlike Origi.
    Sturridge and Firmino also aren’t linking up well at all yet and it concerned me that against Villa he only got 1 goal in an hour. We didn’t seem to beable to connect with him enough even against a very poor team.

    The win against Citeh also suggested that Lallana Firms and Origi are better than when we play Couts and Sturridge. That’s something to think about too.

  4. Everything are ready in Liverpool team… for me.. origi just wait a little bit time to be somebody.. I love his run and he make easy soccer.. Lallana are someone like yoyo.. this time we call him a hero but we 3want wacth him more 2 game..

    in defending line .. lovren is prove he has a class and mr. steady.. that what he must have from 1st day.. now the character of player come in over 20 game.. too late.

    9 game more running and first Liverpool must seat in top 4 at least in 20 more point. That a calculating to CL and must win or draw with Chelsea,MU,Hotsprs and Arsenel,, But don’t drop the point with another bottom team.

  5. Origi,s is the kind of striker that will thrive with Klopp hes willing to run when he does not have the ball and create space for others ,Thats why Benteke will not make it under Klopp hes far too static
    Ings was starting to get a few games under Klopp before is injury as well Rush would have been the perfect striker under Klopp with his work rate

    • Absolutely. But with a problem like the seemingly impassable wall a.k.a ‘Vincent Kompany’ – even Sturridge’s movement at Wembley was a tad suspect.
      Well done Divock for breaking down the wall !

        • I think he is struggling in his mind. His body wants to go full throttle but his mind is stopping him. He was one of the reason why we played so bad on Sunday. He was not pressing and just going through the motions. Origi’s performance at Anfield produced a different performance from LFC because he did everything that Studge didn’t on Sunday.
          He is still a deadly finisher but I think his mind is letting him down

  6. What impressed me more was his strength and hold up play. We all know he is quick and technically very good but his actual strength holding of the City CB was very impressive. Sturridge might be the better finisher but Origi’s movement, pace and willingness to run into space gives us another dimension. He is going to develop into a top class striker and will keep Sturridge on his toes.

  7. He can be our lewandowski. Lewan is known for being an all around center forward and I feel like Origi can do the same. What I would like to see is a 4-2-3-1 with the three being Coutinho, Sturridge(in the 10), Firmino, with origi up top as our number 9. Next year if we want to go faster we can move ings into that role as well. If we can get one more wide man like a bellarabi or reus we could really push for the league with that attacking force. We just need more creativity in our centermids and a stalwart at keeper.

  8. Basically what he did was what we’ve been missing since the departure of our Uruguaian friend. Suarez always dragged the defence away from Studge who then found the goal much easier, I believe with Origi and Studge up front we will start seeing goals going in on a regular basis. Would love to see them both up top to be honest.

  9. Think he played very well. Different style to Daniel. Noticed he likes the ball to his feet more, like in the 3rd goal against city, jogging backward.

  10. Bentecke needs to go in summer just not lpools style too slow excpects others to help him walk ball into net he is another andy carroll pure crap bye bye benny

  11. The next Drogba? I think Origi has all the attributes to become as good a striker as the Ivorian. For Chelsea Drogba was the plan A as well as plan B. He was able to run and pressurize defenders and play the quick passing game and still was able to challenge for high balls and set pieces and fulfill the role of lazy players such as Benteke, Crouch and others.

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