Soccer

‘Origi is miles off the player he can be’ – Liverpool fringe stars need minutes, admits Aldridge

The former Reds striker expects Jurgen Klopp to shuffle his pack in the Champions League with progress to the last 16 already secured

Divock Origi is “miles off the player he can be” at Liverpool, says John Aldridge, with a Champions League meeting with Midtjylland set to present fringe players with a much-needed opportunity to impress.

The Reds have already booked their place in the last 16 of elite European competition.

Jurgen Klopp will therefore be in a position to rest and rotate on Wednesday as a Group D campaign comes to a close.

Origi, who netted in a memorable Champions League final win for Liverpool over Tottenham in 2019, could be among those drafted in for a rare start.

Aldridge hopes those scratching around for minutes and form will make the most of any chances they get in midweek, with those returning from recent injury problems also in contention to get important game time under their belts.

The former Reds striker told the Liverpool Echo: “Liverpool are in the lovely position now having wrapped up Champions League qualification as group winners with a game to spare to be able to give some players an overdue rest ahead of the big Premier League games coming up against Fulham and Tottenham.

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“It’s got to be done, simple as that, plus there are people in the squad who need games so it works out well for them.

“Naby Keita and Trent Alexander-Arnold could do with getting minutes in their legs having just come back from injury against Wolves and the manager will be pleased to be able to freshen things up with no pressure on the outcome of the game in Denmark whatsoever.

“Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi have both got points to prove to themselves as much as anybody and could do with grasping the opportunity if it’s handed to them again.

“Origi at the moment looks miles off the player he can be and Minamino has shown some nice touches here and there but needs to start delivering goals and assists to show he can be a viable option for the manager.

“We will still have a decent team out because we’ve got a good squad but for some of these fringe players the ball is in their court and they need to step up to show what they can do as some of the walking wounded gradually find their way back to fitness.”

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