Has Origi's upturn in form signalled the end of Balotelli's Liverpool career?

He may only be on loan right now, but it seems Mario Balotelli could have played his last game for Liverpool.

It is fair to say that neither Mario Balotelli nor Divock Origi has had the best of times since arriving at Liverpool from AC Milan and Lille respectively, but at just 20, the Belgian international was always going to take a while to settle.

Balotelli had no such excuse, having played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe. But after just 28 matches and four goals for the Reds, the Italian striker headed back to the San Siro on loan while Origi attempted to make a name for himself following an extended spell in Ligue 1.

For a while this season it looked like Origi would continue to struggle in front of goal after managing just nine goals in 44 appearances for Lille last year, but the youngster’s hat-trick in the League Cup clash with Southampton earlier this month silenced the doubters in emphatic fashion.

And it may also have signalled the end of Balotelli’s career at Anfield, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in possession of one of the most exciting young forwards in Europe, and one he clearly knows how to get the best out of.

Klopp may yet have a plan for Balotelli, but many fans still see him as an expensive and ineffective panic buy whose days at the club should be behind him.

Against Southampton Origi showed a glimpse of the future, and at this rate Balotelli could be consigned to the past.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch