The forward nearly left the Reds this summer, but his manager is happy to have him still at the club
Jurgen Klopp admits he was shocked that a ‘proper offer’ did not arrive for Liverpool striker Divock Origi this summer.
The Belgian made his first appearance of the season, and his first start since January, in the Reds’ 3-2 Champions League win over AC Milan on Wednesday night.
He marked it in style, too, providing a sumptuous assist for Liverpool’s second goal, scored by Mo Salah, before departing shortly after the hour mark with cramp.
What did Klopp say?
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Klopp expressed surprise that no clubs had sought to buy Origi during the transfer window, and paid tribute to the 26-year-old, who had not even been on the bench for Liverpool in their last three matches.
“People forget how good he is,” Klopp said. “It’s difficult to get in this team. In the summer transfer window we all thought there would be a proper offer, but obviously people don’t watch football enough!
“Div is a sensational striker and did really well today.”
Klopp’s gamble pays off
Klopp had raised eyebrows with his team selection for the Reds’ opening Group B match.
He left out both Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane, with Joe Gomez brought in for his first competitive start since November 2020, and Origi a surprise inclusion in the forward line.
The rotation was a necessity, said the Reds boss.
“It’s difficult to tell everyone warming up tonight why they aren’t playing,” he said.
“But we need to be sensible. Players are coming back from injuries. [Naby] Keita started, [Jordan] Henderson played a super game, Fabinho too. Origi? An outstanding striker. He did well tonight.”
Asked what Origi had shown him in training, Klopp added: “Nothing really special. He’s a great guy. He’ll be seen as a legend when he leaves.
“He could have left in the summer but football is a crazy place and people forgot how good he is. We have to decide the positions. He did nothing wrong.”