Divock Origi will forever be a hero at Liverpool.
While, let’s face it, the Belgian was never the most talented player in a truly staggering squad, there’s no denying that he played his part by scoring crucial goal after crucial goal.
From his brace against Barcelona and saving the day in the Merseyside derby to scoring in the Champions League final and the winner at Molineux, Origi saved the day so many times that it really did become his calling card.
Origi: From Liverpool to AC Milan
However, all good things must come to an end with Origi and Liverpool going their separate ways this summer in a way that ultimately looked like the right one for both parties.
The Reds were able to continue their spring clean in attacking positions and Origi was finally able to spread his wings and try to become the number one striker every goalscorer desires to be.
Sure, it must have been nice to come off the bench and be the hero, but it can’t possibly be as nice as being the main man from the word go, leading the line and getting plenty of game time.
However, sadly, Origi’s first move since leaving Liverpool has hitherto failed to make that ambition a reality with the 27-year-old enduring a nightmarish start to life at AC Milan.
A tough start to life in Serie A
Now, truth be told, those anticipating Origi to choose a club where minutes would be guaranteed in the way that they weren’t at Liverpool might have been surprised to see him pull up at the San Siro, which was already home to Olivier Giroud and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Granted, both strikers are in the twilight years of their career and the latter has just undergone surgery, but it’s quickly become apparent that Origi’s path to the starting XI is an incredibly tough one nonetheless.
And that couldn’t have been made more apparent than in a damning report written by Alvise Cagnazzo in the Daily Mail this week, which outlined just how much Origi is struggling in Italy.
That’s because the former Reds hero was panned as “the worst signing of the season,” in Italy’s top-flight as part of an alarming breakdown of how much injuries and inconsistent form have continued to plague his progress.
Cagnazzo explained in no uncertain terms: “Rather than catching the eye, the striker’s first months in Italy have been plagued by bad luck and injuries.”
He continued: “At 27 years old, any player, especially a striker, should be at their peak. But Origi seems to already be on a downward curve in his career.
“In the Premier League, he contributed 22 goals and 10 assists in 107 games. In Italy, he risks those numbers being even worse and more similar to those of a midfielder rather than a centre forward.”
But most damningly of all, Cagnazzo penned: “He would have started against Sampdoria on Saturday but muscle fatigue prevents him from being available to Stefano Pioli.
“Milan may be beginning to think that they made a mistake signing Origi, who became one of the club’s highest earners when he joined.
“There is a big risk is that Origi could become a flop like Javi Moreno, Jose Mari, Patrick Kluivert and Fernando Torres.
“Fans are beginning to believe that the club’s hopes of winning a second successive league title could vanish if Giroud gets injured.”
Origi has played three times in Serie A so far, but only in six, 24 and 17-minute bitesize cameos, while his only other appearance in the Champions League was also off the substitutes’ bench.
Pioli has been unable to call upon Origi at full fitness and given Milan’s wider injury problems in attacking positions, it left Cagnazzo quipping that it “leaves the club praying to the Madonnina of Milan Cathedral to have Giroud always available.”
Can Origi turn it around?
Marry that to suggesting that Origi “has already lost opportunities to impress Pioli,” and that the manager might be starting to realise why Liverpool sold him for free – and the situation really does seem dire.
The saving grace is, of course, the fact that it’s still early days in the season and hopefully Origi will be able to make more of an impact when he gets some momentum and fitness under his belt.
Besides, if anyone’s capable of pulling the rabbit out of the hat when all seems lost, then you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s Origi.
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