After picking up a groin strain in Lille’s Coupe de France defeat to Bastia at the start of the year, Liverpool loanee Divock Origi is back in the Lille squad for Saturday’s game with Monaco and could make his first start since the 21st of December.
Lille take on Monaco at the Stade Pierre Mauroy and the Belgian striker will be expected to shake off the disappointments of the first half of the season and rediscover the goal form that earned him the summer transfer to Liverpool.
The home side sit in 12th, but their form had improved massively just before the winter break, winning three out of four games before the 1-0 loss to Lorient. René Girard managed to find a consistency in his attack and form with his defence. However, that has all been interrupted.
Swiss striker Michael Frey has been ruled out for up to three months, splitting up his partnership with Nolan Roux.
The injury to Frey all but ended any chance of Origi moving to Liverpool early, and unless Lille can raise money to sign a striker in the next few days, there is little chance of the deal being brought back to life.
Origi has scored three league goals this season and is still one of Lille’s top goal-scorers, despite his drop in form. For the player, the fans and his teammates, everything needs to be forgotten, 2015 should be a fresh start and perhaps Origi can be the forward that fires Lille back up the table.
Monaco will be no pushovers, the Monegasque side sit fifth in the league and have not conceded a goal in their last six league games. They are still in both domestic cups and play Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Lille’s mis-firing forwards won’t find it easy to break down Leandro Jardim’s stubborn back-line, but this is the perfect opportunity for the Liverpool loanee to launch himself into the home fans good graces. They don’t even have to win, but scoring on Saturday would be the ideal comeback.
Play-maker Rony Lopes has returned to the first-team, and beside new signing Sofiane Boufal, they could make for a very exciting tandem.
In defence, Lille are without Simon Kjaer this weekend, he had to come off in the first half against Lorient, with his place likely to go to David Rozehnal.