Liverpool claimed a fantastic result in the first leg of their Europa clash against Borussia Dortmund. While the tie is far from over, there were no shortage of talking points to come out of the contest, with arguably the biggest being the choice of Divock Origi to lead the line ahead of Daniel Sturridge.
On reputation alone, you would say it would be a no contest, but there itself lies the nucleus of the debate. People may still be recalling the exploits of the 26-year old during the 2013-14 season where he was nothing short of superb, scoring 28 goals in 42 appearances for club and country.
When Luis Suarez was sold to Barcelona in the summer of 2014, Sturridge was seen in many peoples’ eyes as the “main man” and his form would dictate which Liverpool would head in. That was to be the case as both Sturridge and Liverpool’s form took a major nosedive compared to the previous campaign.
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This had a lot to do with the absence of Sturridge through injury on a regular basis. He made only 18 appearances for the club in 2014/15, scoring five goals and this season has been more of the same - with only 16 games played for the club, finding the net seven times. While he is a supremely gifted footballer, in all honesty the Liverpool fans have not seen enough of it in the last two seasons.
Jurgen Klopp’s reasoning for choosing Origi may lie in the fact of his general work rate as a forward, especially away from home, where as a team you have to play a different type of game that you may be used to. The plan worked, and there was an added bonus with Origi scoring the precious away goal to give the Reds a slight advantage heading into the second leg at Anfield.
In something of a common trend, managers are selecting players that can play a role for their team in specific situations over players with more natural talent. Origi clearly has his limitations but that is understandable as he is still learning the English game at 20-years-old. He has already gained invaluable experience this season that will serve him well for the future.
The bigger question regarding this selection is how it will affect Sturridge. He has never been one to keep his emotions to himself, and to only play five minutes in one of Liverpool’s biggest games of the season will be tough to swallow. His attitude in training will likely decide which way Klopp goes at Anfield.
If he drops his head and mopes around the training pitch at Melwood, he stands little chance of winning back his place. However, if he shows himself as a positive influence around the playing group, that is bound to be looked upon favourably by Klopp and his coaching staff.
Sturridge plays his best when he is in a positive frame of mind. Providing he stays fit, he still has plenty to play for personally for the rest of the season, including winning a spot in Roy Hodgson's England squad for Euro 2016. In many ways it is in his hands to what happens next.
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