Origi repays faith of Klopp in first European start in three years

Jurgen Klopp
tried not to contradict himself when explaining his line-up here but the challenges to come formed a part of his thinking almost as much as what lay immediately in front of Liverpool.
Clearly, Klopp did not want any slip-ups against a Porto side with a perfect home record in this season's Champions League
but Divock Origi's presence in place of Roberto Firmino spoke of the need also to be perfect in the four Premier League
games remaining.
'We expect a very intense game, so we need to be ready for that,' said Klopp ahead of kick-off. 'Of course Bobby is ready for that but because he never gives himself a rest, from time to time we have to do it.'
Then Klopp checked himself. 'But it's not a rest actually,' he added. 'It's bringing in Div and having that option: speed and all that stuff. That's what we thought.'
In the end, Origi only lasted 45 minutes, replaced by Firmino at the interval with Liverpool 1-0 up. When Firmino made the score 3-1 with 13 minutes left Klopp could reflect on a satisfying encounter.
He will have wanted Origi to show he can step up if required, given what lies in wait next, but when the three in possession of those shirts up front are in such devastating form it is hard to make a case for change.
Origi's last start in Europe had come almost exactly three years ago, when Borussia Dortmund visited Merseyside in a knife-edge game that became one of the great Anfield nights. This was a different occasion. A grander stage certainly, where more was at stake, but one where Liverpool had breathing room.
Put it this way, if Porto had returned to the Estadio do Dragao with an away goal Firmino would not, in all likelihood, have been trying to shelter from the unseasonal rain on the bench in the first-half.
The two-goal cushion gave Klopp the perfect chance to offer Firmino respite and get Origi into the Champions League groove ahead of bigger tests to come. 
Who knows when the Belgian might be required as a substitute? Liverpool will surely need all their attacking arsenal against Barcelona and having to send Origi in cold, possibly for the final five minutes of a tie in search of a goal, would be difficult on him.
Origi scored in those circumstances against Everton of course, but there he was aided by Jordan Pickford's aberration. This was an opportunity to get in sync with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in a way that could prove influential later down the line.
That it didn't quite work out does not mean it wasn't a worthwhile endeavour. Origi was replaced by Firmino at the break, having tried gamely but been unable to make a telling contribution.
His first involvement came in the third minute when a flat clearance by Alisson jutted across the pockmarked pitch to his position on the left wing. As Origi stretched his legs he showed too much of the ball to Eder Militao, who tackled then won a foul.
Origi next got in possession to link up play with James Milner but when Andy Robertson joined from left back that channel got congested and Origi's positioning somewhat stifled the flow. He went up top after that, with Mane restored to his customary position and it was no coincidence Liverpool's cohesion down that flank rose as a consequence.
Mane actually drifted back centrally to score his goal, displaying that instinct for getting in the right places to score that is now well-established. It is a trait Origi is searching to rediscover. 
He has three goals this season, one in which he has rarely started and Klopp has admitted he 'didn't have the best time as a football player or as a human being'. But his efforts in training have impressed Klopp, to the point where it is Origi and not Daniel Sturridge given the reward of starting matches like this.

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