It’s exciting times for Liverpool fans who are hoping to see Jurgen Klopp turn the club into European regulars once again. The German boss has made a whole host of new signings this summer, as well as making a number of changes at the academy and in the first team squad to reduce the number of footballers at Anfield.
The Reds fielded over 30 different players throughout the 2015-16 campaign and Klopp’s spent the summer attempting to solidify his first team and reduce the number of fringe players in the squad. However, with so much attacking creativity in the midst, Klopp could still be faced with some difficult selection choices. It’s a good position to be in but for some of Liverpool’s talented attackers, it means they’re going to have to go above and beyond to fight for a place in the starting XI.
Two players who have excelled under Klopp at Liverpool are Danny Ings and Divock Origi. The former Burnley striker joined the Reds last summer after an impressive season in the top flight but after suffering a serious ACL knee injury, he missed the majority of last season. In the few appearances he made prior to the injury, Ings looked sharp, dangerous and effective. His performances earned him praise from the Kop’s faithful and he seemed to fit the bill for Klopp’s style of play.
Ings continued his impressive form with recent displays in Liverpool’s pre-season campaign. He looked like a player hungry for Premier League action and certainly gave the Reds a goal threat when going forward. The England international provides pace and power and shares similar qualities to that of Didier Drogba. Ings is strong in the air and is confident in the final third. He likes to take his shots early and always tests defenders with his runs in behind. He’s a tough forward to mark and his willingness to run out wide as well as lead the attack will prove valuable for Klopp.
The German boss has already spoken of his admiration for Ings, who he named as captain on several occasions during the pre-season campaign. However, reports have suggested Liverpool’s manager may opt to leave Ings out of his plans this season and hopes the striker can continue to build up experience and ability in the new U23 second tier of senior football.
It would come as a disappointment but not a shock for Ings, who has had to fight hard to make a comeback from his serious injury. Liverpool have brought in Sadio Mane to add to Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi in attack and it would be hard-pushed for Ings to get many appearances this year. The lack of European football has proven to be damaging for the England international, who may have featured heavily for Klopp in the Europa League competition.
Instead, Klopp’s squad rotation will likely be less frequent and there’s plenty of attacking talent on offer to the German boss. However, Ings has shown enough determination and progression this summer to suggest he could bounce back this season and make his mark on the Liverpool team. A few months in the Reds’ reserves squad could be vital for his development but it’s doubtful many would be surprised to see him push for a starting position in the second half of the season. With Mane already picking up an injury, and Sturridge still not looking 100%, there’s certainly hope for the England striker and Klopp will be urging him on to prove his worth.
As well as Ings’ progression, Liverpool fans have been pleased to see the rise of one of Europe’s most promising youngsters, Divock Origi. The former Lille forward suffered a disappointing final season with his old club and took a while to settle into life in England. His confidence seems to have returned though and since Klopp’s arrival, the Belgian attacker has provided fans with some quality performances. He netted ten goals for the Reds last season, including a goal in each leg of Liverpool’s Europe League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund. Origi was also impressive in the Capital One Cup victory against Southampton, grabbing a hat-trick and ensuring he helped his side on their way to the final in Wembley.
After a really bright start to his Reds career under Klopp, Origi then faced a few months on the sidelines as he picked up a long-term injury at the end of December but he returned in February and looked as dangerous as ever, producing even more quality. He scored on his Premier League return after the lengthy lay-off and continued to do well, ending the season on a high with five goals in his last six games. As if his previous performances weren’t enough, he then scored in the Merseyside derby at the end of April as the Reds celebrated a memorable 4-0 victory over Everton at Anfield.
Overall, Origi’s progression under Klopp has been remarkable and he’s shown enough to suggest he warrants a starting position. With Sturridge not looking fully fit, Origi could be the preferred choice but Klopp has often looked to Firmino to lead the line up front and he went with the Brazilian in Liverpool’s opening fixture against Arsenal. However, with Mane out for a short spell, Origi could feature alongside Coutinho and Lallana and he’ll no doubt be equally as impressive. As the season goes on, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Origi become Liverpool’s number one striker but it depends largely on the form of Daniel Sturridge and whether or not Klopp is willing to use Origi ahead of Firmino as the Reds’ number nine.