A tale of two strikers as Origi rescues Reds while Benteke struggles again in West Brom draw

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As Liverpool rescued a late point against West Brom at Anfield, the contrast in the displays of the Reds strikers on the day was stark and poses an interesting dilemma to Jurgen Klopp.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 13, 2015: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and players thanking supporters after the Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. (Pic by James Maloney/Propaganda)

With Liverpool staring at successive league defeats, up stepped a Belgian striker to rescue a dramatic point in injury time against Tony Pulis’ side.

Second half substitute Divock Origi – not £32million man Christian Benteke – provided the late equaliser in a real positive cameo appearance as he comes to life under Klopp’s guidance.

It was a fantastic moment for the youngster – one that was followed by memorable post-match scenes – but while Origi enjoyed a delightful impact, it was an afternoon of contrasting fortunes for his compatriot.

 

Benteke Below Par Again

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 13, 2015: Liverpool's Christian Benteke looks dejected after missing a chance in during the Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. (Pic by James Maloney/Propaganda)

Trusted with spearheading the Reds attack at a wet and windy Anfield, Benteke failed to repay the faith Klopp continues to show with another poor performance.

Immobile as the focal point of Liverpool’s attack, Benteke watched like the crowd while the lively duo of Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho buzzed around, probing the visiting defence with the help of the advancing Jordan Henderson and James Milner.

The summer signing stood up against the Albion back-line, doing nothing to shake off their attentions as the Reds creators looked for a platform to play off.

Benteke was static, failing to provide the bounce-man needed for slick, quick passing to break the Baggies backline – which Henderson did after 21 minutes, slotting home Lallana’s knockdown.

The 25-year-old continued to offer little, all too predictably standing centrally waiting for a cross to be swung in, and while only seven of Liverpool’s 29 attempted crosses were successful, he spurned some decent deliveries failing to hit the target all afternoon in six attempts.

Posting the least touches and the lowest passing accuracy of the starting XI, Benteke searched for the spectacular.

He attempted two difficult volleyed finishes when controlling and passing to the supporting cast would have been better – signs that he felt pressure to produce something special due to his limited involvement.

Klopp has – perhaps diplomatically – talked up the No.9s quality but very few were evident, with his touch proving a hindrance too often to the intricate play Coutinho & Co. attempted to orchestrate – though Lallana should have scored after brilliantly being put through by the striker to his credit.

His lack of movement proved restrictive to Liverpool finding their rhythm, and when he did, it often came at the expense of other teammates in good positions who were consequently crowded out.

The Belgian’s lack of game intelligence was a real eye opener from the upper tier of the Anfield Road stand.

Benteke’s off-ball work was also lacking once again; he was slow to close spaces, failing to work in conjunction with his teammates, allowing the visitors an escape route as others bust a gut to apply pressure.

He was completely at odds with the rest of the side, but thankfully for Klopp, the man he later introduced wasn’t.

 

Divock Delights

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 13, 2015: Liverpool's Divock Origi celebrates scoring the equaliser goal during the Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. (Pic by James Maloney/Propaganda)

Thrown on by Klopp as he sought to rescue the game, Origi delighted an atmospheric Anfield with an impact the German hoped for.

The young Belgian arrived straight into the action after replacing the injured Dejan Lovren to join Benteke, and where his partner failed, Origi offered a mobile and sharp outlet up top.

He dropped into space, drifted wide and looked to link up with those around him – showing an intelligence and hunger lacking from his countryman.

And from drifting wide into space to offer an outlet, the dramatic equaliser came.

Receiving the ball and driving down the left, he skipped Craig Dawson’s challenge – getting straight back up from a hefty tackle – before working the ball to his right foot to fire into the far corner with the help of a deflection off Gareth McCauley.

It was the chunk of luck Liverpool deserved on a day they proved their own undoing with set-pieces down the other end once again.

The buoyed Reds pushed for a winner that unfortunately never came as Klopp’s side had to settle for a point courtesy of Origi’s fourth goal in three games.

It was brilliant injection from the 20-year-old who showed bravery, took responsibility and carried the desire to make a difference that his manager so craves – taking on the shot at that time of the game typifies his new found confidence from his Southampton hat-trick.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 13, 2015: Liverpool's Divock Origi scores the equaliser goal during the Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. (Pic by James Maloney/Propaganda)

The game changing cameo capped off another positive outing for Origi who really has taken to Klopp’s methods and is now reaping the rewards of his work in the shadows at Melwood.

Though he is far from the finished article and undoubtedly has more work to do, the ex-Lille man already looks a better fit for the Reds than Benteke.

His desire to be involved in play offers an unpredictability missing when Benteke’s up front, and his selflessness, that saw him hound lost causes from the minute he entered, parallels with the work ethic Klopp seeks to instil.

Such an impact, at a time when it was desperately needed, could prompt Klopp to rethink his current striking order.

It would be a wise move with Benteke floundering again while Origi rescued a point that could prove handy come the end of the season.

 

LIVERPOOL 2-2 WEST BROM

MATCH REPORT: Reds ride their luck with late comeback

PLAYER RATINGS: Henderson MOM while Mignolet voted the lowest

TACTICAL OVERVIEW: Klopp’s shifting tactics earn Reds a draw

TALKING POINTS: Klopp goes mad & Mignolet keeps flapping

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