Origi: I've missed Anfield and I'm hoping for a start
More than two months have passed since Divock Origi started a game at Anfield and the striker is hopeful he can both end that run and help Liverpool claim three points when Manchester City visit tonight.
The Belgium international returned as a substitute against West Ham United in February following hamstring and knee issues – the first of five consecutive appearances from the bench.
Origi’s most recent introduction was during the Capital One Cup final with City at Wembley on Sunday, when he played a part in the Reds levelling the tie in the second half and pushing hard for a winning goal.
The No.27 himself went close with a downward header in extra-time that was repelled by goalkeeper Willy Caballero but Jürgen Klopp’s side were ultimately denied the trophy in a penalty shootout.
A chance to bounce back from that disappointment arrives quickly courtesy of the league meeting with City, and Origi is ready to contribute again if his efforts as a substitute are rewarded with a place in the starting XI.
“To be honest, I’ve missed Anfield because I like playing at home – there’s a good atmosphere,” he told Liverpoolfc.com at Melwood.
“The last time against Leicester, there was a good atmosphere and we beat them. We played a big game. I came off with an injury, unfortunately, but I always enjoy playing there and I hope to score more goals at Anfield.
“I’m always hoping to play. Obviously the manager makes the choices, I just try to maximise and enjoy my game time, whoever the coach puts out; if it’s me, I’ll give 100 per cent and I’ll be very happy to play.”
With Liverpool determined to produce an immediate response to Sunday’s heartbreak at Wembley and City aiming to close the gap at the top of the Barclays Premier League table, there will be no let-up in intensity for the Anfield rematch.
After the final, Klopp spoke of the need for his team to get straight back into training on Monday and look ahead, and Origi believes the Reds can harness the emotions they felt for the better tonight.
The 20-year-old continued: “As a human being, it’s always painful to be so close to an objective and miss it.
“But we have to use this as positive energy to compete in the game against City. The training was intensive like always, just preparing for the next game.
“It would be very good if we could win and take the three points – for our mentality and the league [table] also. Our objective is to do as well as possible and get the three points.
“It’s going to be a big test. Every game in the Premier League is intensive and to play against Manchester City is a big game. In one way it’s good because it’s always nice to play a big game at home.”
Having given everything across the 120 minutes and penalties, Origi and his teammates had to watch on as City collected the Capital One Cup trophy at the weekend.
It was a feeling the striker does not want to experience again any time soon, though he echoed the convictions of several players that the squad can also learn from the occasion and go one better in the future.
He said: “I could see that feeling when I watched football when I was young. It looked bad but when you’re there it feels horrible. In a career you have to learn and it’s also through moments like these that you learn.
“We were very close. At 1-0, as a team we responded well and came back. We had a good drive to go and score the second goal.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t score. Then you go to penalties and everything can happen. At the end we lost – that’s sport.
“We have all the ingredients to go far in the future. But we still have to learn, we are young. We have a good club, good supporters and a very good manager, so I am confident for the future.
“For me, it was a first experience of a final. It wasn’t a fun experience but it will push me for the next time to go even further.”