By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Divock Origi has admitted that he was “awful” last season before joining up with the Liverpool squad permanently.
The 20-year-old striker signed for the Merseysiders in the summer of 2014 and then spent the following campaign at Lille.
Origi scored nine goals in 44 matches last season for the French club but he was not deemed to be a success and has admitted that it toughened him up.
“At the end of my career it will only make it more special when you can say this happened the year before,” said Origi, as quoted in the Telegraph. “It was an awful year, but I’m sure it made me a lot stronger when I came here.
“I was very hungry to succeed. It wasn’t easy but the football world can build you up and you can sometimes go down. But when you have a good base you don’t have to worry. When you know you have qualities then you know your hard work will bring you far.
“Even for players younger than me, you never have to give up. When you believe in yourself people can say what they want but when you work hard and you have your head clear then everything is possible.”
Origi was widely considered to be fourth-choice striker behind Daniel Sturridge, Christian Benteke and Danny Ings at the start of the season.
Last week’s away leg of the Europa League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund – when he was preferred to Daniel Sturridge and scored in a 1-1 draw – demonstrated the speed of transformation from understudy to peer of the senior strikers.
“When someone shows confidence in you, you want to reward it back,” said Origi in the Telegraph. “The manager had a very hard choice to make but what I have learnt is that we are in a group with a lot of talent.
“Beforehand, we had a tactics talk as a team and he just said ‘play your game’. Afterwards he just said ‘well done’. He knows I have a long way to go. I know that too, so I just try to enjoy the moments when I help. I know I have to be more consistent.
“To play a game like this is the reason I came. I am enjoying my football. I feel I am playing well and scoring goals, which is important for a striker. I feel fit. I am working hard in training and enjoying games. I feel good at the club and it is a combination of all these things that is making me perform well.”
Origi followed up his goal in Germany by coming off the bench last Sunday and scoring two goals in Liverpool’s 3-1 win at Stoke
His goal record this season – eight in 30 matches – is not too different to last season but he is adding greater penetration to his game.
In other Liverpool news, former club captain Phil Thompson has explained where he thinks £50million duo Christian Benteke and Mario Balotelli will be playing next season.