Most Reds fans seemed content with news that Divock Origi had signed fresh terms this week; however, former United States and Fulham striker, Brian McBride, (now an ESPN FC pundit) was more cynical.
“Let’s be honest, he cannot play in the same way [Roberto] Firmino can,” McBride opined on ESPN, in comments reported by The Daily Express.
“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.
“He understands the way the team plays, he understands the players.
“But if you’re looking and saying ‘this signing is going to make Liverpool better’ – no.
“Yeah I do [think sentimentality has played a part]. I think that’s part of it as a thank you. Looking at all the other factors, it’s a small factor.”
We feel that McBride is being dismissive of the value Origi brings to the team and find his scoffing to be quite disrespectful.
If sentimentality has played a part, why is that necessarily such a bad thing? Together with razor-sharp tactical insight, dedication, and a keen intellect, Jürgen Klopp is also a manager of emotion.
It’s part of the reason why this side has been so successful and why Barcelona were ultimately dismantled at Anfield. Keeping Origi around – with his uncanny knack for finding the net on the big stage, apparently – makes sense for footballing reasons, as well as for intangible factors such as morale, team-spirit, and rewarding the Belgian himself.
Is Origi good enough to lead the line regularly? Arguably not. Do we need to sign another attacker? Probably, yes. Is he a more than decent squad player with a now-cult hero status amongst supporters? Absolutely.
His idea that Origi only put pen to paper because we couldn’t find anyone else to do the job, or that we had failed in our transfer plans, does a massive disservice to the club and Michael Edwards in particular.
It’s likely that Origi was always going to sign a new contract given his sensational exploits in the 2018/19, and the hope is probably that he can kick on from here. He’s started well enough, scoring against Tranmere on his first apperance back for the Reds since the Champions League final.
Regardless, we would have lost him for nothing next season so a new contract should suit all parties.
Will it make us better? It certainly won’t make us any worse, McBride.