Football is a fickle game.
This time last year, Divock Origi was about as far away from the Liverpool first team as it was possible for him to be.
The Belgian as just returning to Anfield after a fairly dismal loan spell in Germany with Wolfsburg, and it looked for all the world as if he would be quietly ushered through the door marked “exit”.
Last forward 12 months, and you’ll struggle to find a more popular man on Merseyside.
The 24-year-old had to wait until December to get his chance in the Premier League, but when he did, he seized it with both hands.
A late winner in the Merseyside derby ensured that his name be written into Kop folklore for years to come, but Origi’s season was just beginning.
A brace against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final, followed by the second in the final itself against Tottenham, ensured the striker’s spiked massively, and it was little surprise to learn that he has been given a new contract by the Reds, as reported by the BBC.
But ESPN pundit Brian McBride doesn’t seem to share the viewpoint, however.
As quoted by the Daily Star, he said: “Let’s be honest, he cannot play in the same way [Roberto] Firmino can.
“Liverpool has to actually play a little different style, his mobility isn’t anywhere near as good.
“The only way I can say this is happening is because one: they were unable to find anybody that would be willing to sit on the bench, that would be happy to come in and play a bit part, and also the fact that Divock already understands the situation.”
These comments seem incredibly harsh, and more than a little shortsighted.
Apart from anything else, you cannot question Origi’s contribution.
One goal every 72 minutes in the Champions League last season is a seriously impressive return, and when you consider that the 6’1″ ace [Transfermarkt] only lets possession 0.8 times per match last term [Whoscored], you have to admit that he is a really useful option for the Reds.
As far as not being the same sort of player as Firmino, there is nothing wrong with a bit of variety, and perhaps McBride should stop to consider that the possibility that that might be what Jurgen Klopp was aiming for all along.
Either way, the American pundit is wrong on this one.