It’s amazing what five minutes can do in football. On Sunday, Lille were struggling to create anything of note against FC Nantes, but then after half-time, Liverpool’s Divock Origi burst into the game and before the 51st minutes he had a goal and an assist and the game was over.
The story of Lille’s season so far has been a lack of creativity upfront. Defensively they have been as solid as ever, but the front-line has yet to turn up. Divock Origi seemed to be struggling after agreeing his summer move to Liverpool and subsequent return on loan to the club that developed him.
Salomon Kalou’s transfer to Hertha Berlin gave Origi the chance to become Lille’s top striker, pressure that he cherish, after asking coach René Girard to put more faith in the 19-year-old.
In the opening four games, Origi hadn’t exactly hit the ground running. The game against Nantes on Sunday was his third start of the season, and it looked to be another poor performance after the first 45 minutes.
Coach Girard is serving a two-game touchline ban after a foul-mouth tirade at the referee against Monaco. It wasn’t until the break that he was able to unleash a tirade against his own side, and it looked to have worked.
Lille came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders, quickly pushing up the pitch, with aggression and intent. Before a minute of the second half had passes, Florent Balmont’s cross from the right found Origi at the back post. The striker used his power and height to beat the Nantes defence and head in the opener.
Before the Nantes defence knew what had happened it was 2-0. This time Origi turned provider. Collecting the ball outside the box, he got his head up, spotted the run of Rony Lopes and his pass found the midfielder perfectly and the Manchester City loanee placed it past the ‘keeper.
It was a great five minutes from Origi, and Lille won the game 2-0. However, the assist itself shows where Origi has to improve. When he collected the ball, he was keener on doing a step over than getting his head up and looking for the best option. No doubt he has the ability; just sometimes his brain isn’t quite quick enough to help him do the right thing.
His potential is staggering and all his physical attributes make him a nightmare for defenders. Slowly but surely it is coming together. On Thursday night Lille take on Krasnodar in the Europa league and that will be another great test for the future Liverpool striker.