Published On: Thu, Jul 11th, 2019

Liverpool legend reveals the ‘problem’ with Jurgen Klopp’s Divock Origi contract decision | Football | Sport

The Reds announced yesterday that 24-year-old striker Origi has penned a new deal having had just 12 months left on his previous terms.

The Belgium international, who scored seven goals last season despite only seven starts across all competitions, made himself a club hero last term.

A brace in a semi-final win over Barcelona and the second goal against Tottenham in the Champions League final were crucial as Liverpool won the European Cup for the sixth time.

And Origi is expected to play a more important role at Anfield next term with Daniel Sturridge having left the club at the end of his contract last month.

But former right-back Nicol, who spent 13 years at the club, does not agree with Jurgen Klopp’s decision to extend Origi’s deal and have him as the first-choice deputy for Roberto Firmino.

“I was asked this question whether they should resign him and I said no,” he told ESPN FC.

“I don’t think Origi is any better today than he was [when he joined]. He’s 24 now, he joined Liverpool when he was 19.

“I don’t think he’s any better today than he was then. He doesn’t see the field enough.

“He’s come on and scored some important goals, yes. But his actual play is not good enough, it’s not a high level.

“If Klopp wants to give Firmino a rest for example and you play Origi, the level drops so far down. That’s my problem.”

Origi has had a tumultuous time on Merseyside since signing from Lille for around £10million in 2014 and almost left to join Wolves in a fee of around £22m a year ago.

That was after a failed season-long loan with Wolfsburg but Origi has now revived his Liverpool career and Klopp is delighted with the forward’s development.

The German told Liverpool’s official website: “I really think it’s a win-win situation. It’s a story really only football can write.

“I never forgot the situation in the Everton game [in 2016], to be honest, when there was that harsh tackle and a red card for [Ramiro] Funes Mori. Divock was in the best shape of his life and everybody was so positive about his future, and then things like this happen in football.

“We always know something like this can happen but when you see it and see the influence it has on a career, it’s just a sad story because he struggled really long with the ankle and stuff like that [and when] he came back the team was flying pretty much.

“It was not easy to come in and he couldn’t gain confidence and stuff like that. Going on loan to Wolfsburg, it didn’t really work out there, coming back, thinking about leaving and then the season starts and yeah, it’s not a miracle, but it’s the nice part of the story then.

“He grew and grew and grew, in training sessions you could see it: ‘Wow!’ It was then not sure about the centre so he played a couple of games on the left wing. He did well there, it’s obviously not his natural position but he can play it in a specific way, in a very offensive way.

“Then in training again, you saw ‘OK, now he is ready again for No 9’ and he did that and scored the goals. That helped obviously, he scored unbelievably important goals and here we are.

“We wanted to sign him again, to extend the contract, and the nice thing is he wanted to as well. He realised it was a tough time [but] we never gave him up in that time, [we never said] ‘OK, that will never work again’, but sometimes in football you don’t have enough time.

“Thankfully we had enough time that we could kind of wait until he is ready again. Now he is this wonderful player again so it’s great to have him and I’m really, really happy about the signing.”

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