Noel Whelan has urged Liverpool to keep hold of Divock Origi in light of the upcoming African Cup of Nations.
Divock Origi has become a hot-topic at Anfield in recent weeks, especially after his heroics in the win over Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Belgian forward starred in that game by scoring a late equaliser to rescue two valuable points for his side, helping them maintain pressure on league leaders Manchester City.
Jurgen Klopp had publicly hailed Origi after his performance against Wolves but also hinted that the player could be on his way out of Anfield in the upcoming January transfer window.
The former Lille forward has had no shortage of suitors either, with AC Milan among clubs eyeing a January swoop for the experienced striker, while other outfits like Besiktas and Newcastle United had also registered interest in the Belgian.
However, during an interview with Football Insider, former Leeds United star Noel Whelan has urged Liverpool to reconsider their stance before offloading Divock Origi in the upcoming winter transfer window.
“I’m not sure whether they can afford to let him go in January, maybe in the summer. I’ve seen the way Jurgen Klopp goes on about him as a person, as a character, as a footballer. There’s obviously great mutual respect there,” he told Football Insider.
The former centre-forward added by suggesting Origi could be vital for the club, especially keeping in mind the timing of the upcoming African Cup of Nations that will force the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to miss a chunk of early 2022.
“I think Klopp realises how much he is going to need Origi this season, especially during the African Cup of Nations. It’s a crucial time. It’s probably why he’s been given that extra bit of game time – just to ease him into match sharpness. He’ll be an integral part of that front three with Sadio Mane and Mo Salah missing,” said the 46-year-old.
Origi has scored two goals in just 38 minutes of Premier League actions so far this season. His five goals overall have been useful for the Liverpool side that has missed Roberto Firmino due to injury. But with the Brazilian nearing full fitness, it remains to be seen whether Origi will be too keen on remaining at Anfield during the second half of the campaign.