Given the plethora of players that arrived at Liverpool over the summer, many of whom have gone straight into Brendan Rodgers’ first team, it’s forgivable to have forgotten about Divock Origi.
The Belgian striker was sent straight back to Lille on loan after the Reds signed him for £10m over the summer, an understandable decision given the wealth of attacking options still at Anfield.
However, as his side were beaten 1-0 at home by Aston Villa, Rodgers might have wished he had the option to bring the exciting Origi on, especially considering Mario Balotelli’s lacklustre display.
The 19-year-old went on to rub salt in Red wounds by scoring once and setting up another as Lille beat Nantes 2-0 to hit the top of the Ligue 1 standings after five games.
In total Origi has bagged two goals and one assist in four appearances for Les Dogues, and his all-action contribution against Nantes was a stark contrast to Balotelli’s lethargy against Villa.
The Italian forward looked isolated and at times disinterested as he struggled to connect with Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Lazar Markovic, and he was withdrawn for Rickie Lambert in the 71st minute.
The absence of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling only being fit to start from the bench were also key factors in Liverpool’s loss, but Rodgers will need more from his £16m signing if the Reds are to claim a top-four spot this season.
Last year’s Premier League runners-up are 4/5 to finish in the Champions League places this season after the weekend’s results, with Manchester United just 3/5 after they beat QPR 4-0.
Next on the agenda for the Reds is their first game in Europe’s premier competition since 2009, with Bulgarian side Ludogorets the visitors to Anfield.
Liverpool are a minuscule 2/9 to win the game, but a far more impressive display than the one they turned in against Aston Villa will be required to avoid the worst possible start to their Champions League campaign.