Jamie O’Hara has refuted Jurgen Klopp’s claim of Divock Origi being a ‘world-class’ operator, insisting that the Belgian is ‘nowhere near the best’.
The Liverpool attacker made an instant impact off the bench in the Merseyside derby, helping set up Andy Robertson’s opener before doubling the hosts’ lead at Anfield with a goal of his own.
“All that is is man-management. A player who is on the bench and you will need, you have to keep him happy,” the 35-year-old told TalkSPORT (via Caught Offside).
“Of course he’s a good finisher and a top-class striker, but you are telling me he’s a better finisher than Salah and Mane?
“I’m going to fizz balls at you on the 18-yard box and who would you want there? Divock Origi is probably bottom of the list. Of course I don’t agree with him [Klopp]. He’s obviously just trying to keep him on board because he’s a player who doesn’t get used very often, but can rely on him when he needs him.
“That’s great man-management. As a manager, the hardest thing to do is to keep the players on the bench happy. Divock Origi spends most of his time at Liverpool on the bench, but [Klopp] keeps praising him when he does come on and scores goals.
“He is a player they need in the squad, but he’s nowhere near the best of the players.”
The former Lille hitman has enjoyed a relatively prolific campaign with the Reds in cameo appearances, registering nine goal contributions in 16 outings (across all competitions).
Given that we’re talking about a striker that has scored in both a Champions League semi-final and final – most infamously supporting our historic comeback against Barcelona – it’s a bit harsh to suggest that the 26-year-old isn’t world-class.
Of course, to say he’s not quite at the level of the likes of Mo Salah and Co. is an accurate statement, though it would be the height of foolishness to not appreciate the importance of Origi’s efforts over the years.
It’s a player we’ll miss greatly once his contract expires this summer – particularly if we can’t replace his contributions in the side.