While he would have found his opportunities limited at Liverpool, striker Taiwo Awoniyi is proving his quality having left in a £6.5 million deal earlier this summer.
Awoniyi was, throughout his six years on the books, an anomaly for the Reds; work permit issues meant that he could never make his debut, and he failed to even feature in pre-season.
Having been part of the squad to train in Austria over the summer, the Nigerian held talks with Jurgen Klopp with the decision being made that a permanent move would most benefit his career.
There was interest from England, Belgium and Germany, and Awoniyi opted to head back to Union Berlin – where he spent the previous campaign on loan – in a package worth £6.5 million.
Liverpool made a considerable profit on the £400,000 paid to sign him from the Imperial Soccer Academy in 2015, while Union brought in a player comfortable and familiar with his surroundings in Berlin.
It is unlikely that Klopp will be ruing the deal, given the quality he already possesses in attack, but there will be a sense of pride as Awoniyi finds his feet immediately in the Bundesliga.
? The key moments from a topsy-turvy 2-2 #Bundesliga draw in #TSGFCU! pic.twitter.com/vM8VARdHtd
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) August 22, 2021
In four appearances since joining Union on a full-time basis, Awoniyi has scored four goals and laid on two assists, including strikes in both league games so far.
His latest was an impressive improvised finish at the second time of asking against Hoffenheim on Sunday, levelling the scores in a 2-2 draw at the Rhein-Neckar Arena.
It follows a strike against Bayern Leverkusen and a brace against Kuopion Palloseura in the UEFA Conference League, with that 4-0 qualifying win also bringing the second of his two assists.
Awoniyi laid on the winner for Max Kruse in the DFB-Pokal first-round victory over Turkgucu Munchen, with the 24-year-old averaging a direct goal contribution every 42.7 minutes so far since his move.
Thank you @LFC
Great 6years with you with lots of learning and development
Thanks for the years to the club and entire management…. @fcunion_en #new home and happy to be part of the family. Journey continue #God Forever is the Greatest pic.twitter.com/NsFpdBcFE3
— AWONIYI TAIWO (@taiwoawoniyi18) July 21, 2021
Though his red-hot start at Union may lead some to question whether Awoniyi should have stayed at Anfield as a first-team option, the fact that Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are both competing for the No. 9 role would have seen him struggle for minutes
A new home is what the striker desired, and now he is rewarding Union’s faith in an outstanding start that will hopefully continue throughout the season.
It would be no surprise, then, if he were to eventually make his way back to the Premier League – with his stop at Union designed to give him the platform to prove he is a top-level talent.