With last week’s news that Danny Ings is likely to depart this summer, attention will now shift to Liverpool’s other forwards. Sturridge looks set for an exit, leaving two forwards facing a head-to-head battle for contention this summer.
Jurgen Klopp will want a striker with the ability and capacity to come in and be ready when called upon. He has decent options in either of the talented duo. Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke are both talented strikers and, with the right run of form, could force their way into many a Premier League line up. However, with Klopp needing to build and grow, there is only likely to be room for one of them.
First team struggles
Solanke was hailed as a shrewd acquisition last year, following a strong summer with the England under-20 squad. However, he struggled to establish himself at Liverpool and scored just one goal in twenty-seven games. Granted, of the games he did play, the vast majority were as a substitute, so it is difficult to judge his season one way or the other. His goal return, though, was disappointing and must improve.
The calibre of the competition Solanke faces for places will probably intensify before this current window shuts in August. It is therefore crucial that the young England forward gives Klopp something positive to think about in the pre-season friendly games this summer. If he finds himself further down the pecking order then a loan move might suit his future prospects. There would be plenty of suitors for Solanke if this happens to be the case, such are his qualities.
Head to head
If Solanke is in direct competition with Origi for a place in the team then he has quite the challenge on his hands already. The Belgian international is now a reasonably experienced pro, who will be keen to fight for his Liverpool future.
Origi endured a poor season at Wolfsburg last year. He struggled for goals and form in a league he seemed well suited to. However much this has damaged his Liverpool chances regains unclear, but it does now seem Klopp is set to choose between him or Solanke going forward.
The Belgian did well for Liverpool whenever he was called on. He has shown he’s capable of scoring goals in the Premier League, and with such a creative group at the club, he could thrive once again. He is strong, quick and holds up the ball up well. His professionalism and fitness are such that it would be near impossible to escape the attention of his manager.
Solanke may well win the battle with Origi by virtue of youth. At just twenty-one, he is already a gifted forward whom Klopp will want to mould. At the moment, though, even if he does have an impressive pre-season, he faces an uphill battle for a starting place.
Whether or not he will be happy on the bench remains to be seen, as this isn’t an ideal situation for someone who needs career development. Ultimately, it may well be Solanke who forces the issue, taking his future into his own hands as he did at Chelsea.