LIVERPOOL’S private flight to Geneva is about to begin its descent and the cabin crew’s updates are distributed through the PA system. This does not break Divock Origi’s concentration as he details the differences in his game in an interview first published on Goal.com
In-between the calls to return seats to an upright position and fold away the tray tables, the 20-year-old explains how additional, repetitive work at Melwood is shaping his progress with the Merseysiders.
“I’ve been working on movement, my positioning, my anticipation,” he said.
“I put myself in different scoring situations in training and repeat, repeat, repeat. I focus on everything and learn what works and what doesn’t. And then it’s more repeating.
“It helps to do the same things over and over again because it lifts your confidence and also becomes automatic. I do a lot of this kind of work because it makes me a sharper striker.”
Origi is expected to start in the club’s final Europa League group stage encounter against Sion tonight. The last time the Belgian was involved from the off, he scored a hat-trick against Southampton in Liverpool’s emphatic 6-1 victory.
“I went into that game feeling free,” he admitted.
“Mentally, I was so relaxed, especially after the first goal. It was a game I could really enjoy, show all my qualities and because of the performance of everyone, it was such a great experience.
“I think I’ve played a few good games, but had some bad luck with my finishing. That game gave me confidence though, more belief in myself and I know I am very far from my top potential. There is still so much to learn, and every day I am picking up on things and trying to push on.”
Before the treble against Ronald Koeman’s side, the 20-year-old largely struggled. Everything seemed off, his tactical intelligence, his technique, his timing of runs.
Jurgen Klopp decided to intervene. He spoke to Origi about simplifying his game, and not succumbing to the pressure of proving himself. The German did not overload the forward with information, but rather pointed out areas of weakness and provided crucial advice.
“He told that I need to keep things simple,” explained the forward.
“To stop overdoing everything. As a young player, you want to go in and show what you can do and put yourself about. You put extra pressure on yourself, then you don’t end up enjoying the game and you make decisions that you shouldn’t — that you wouldn’t make normally.
“When you come into a game and you only get five or 10 minutes, you want to show that you can make a difference. You focus on that and not what you have to do in terms of the game. So we talked about things like that, about not over-thinking and just doing the basics because that would help the most.
“The main thing is he didn’t give me too much information, I understood everything he was telling me, and how he thought we could work on it. He said that a young player coming into such a big club is not easy, but I deserve it and I belong here.
“He said just a few small changes, lots of hard work from me and everything would click. When I took to the pitch against Southampton, I thought of all this.”
Following his three-goal haul in the League Cup, Origi had to settle for a place on the bench in the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle. While he’d love to be a permanent fixture in the starting 11, he knows he has to be patient and take the chances when they come.
“You are always disappointed if you don’t start, but you always have to think about the team and the plan and the big picture,” he said.
“When you do get minutes, you give everything for the team. If you are on the bench, you give them your full support and make sure you are ready if you’re needed. You have to learn to be patient. This is all part of the game and part of development.”
He is wished luck for the Group B battle, and smiles while offering a polite ‘thank you’. But Origi knows it’s not about good fortune as much as it’s about further practice. Scoring, after all, is an art form which he wants to make a habit.
Read more from Melissa on Goal.com’s Liverpool page.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo/PA Images