Steve McManaman explains how emerging star has altered Liverpool attacker situation
By Alex Stevens
Daniel Sturridge, Christian Benteke and Danny Ings face a “real battle” to win back the spearhead role at Liverpool, according to Steve McManaman.
The former Anfield star says the emergence of Divock Origi has dramatically altered the striker landscape at the club in recent weeks.
Origi was preferred to Sturridge to lead the line in the Europa League clashes against Borussia Dortmund and responded with a goal in each leg as the Merseysiders sensationally overcame the Bundesliga big-hitters in the quarter-final tie.
Liverpool came from 3-1 down midway in the second-half on Thursday night to win 4-3 and seal a 5-4 aggregate win with one of the most dramatic comebacks in the history of European club football.
Former Bayern Munich midfielder Owen Hargreaves hailed Origi as Liverpool’s “best player” in each of the two matches and fellow BT Sport pundit McManaman was equally impressed by the 20-year-old Belgian.
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“It leaves the others with a real battle on their hands,” McManaman told BT Sport after Thursday’s mesmerising match. “Sturridge, Benteke and Ings, who is out injured, they were all ahead of him earlier in the season.
“At times he (Origi) looked a bit fragile in the Premier League although he was only in his first season. In the last three, four, five weeks he’s really burst onto the scene.
“These are massive games and he has stood out and been counted.”
Liverpool’s four main strikers have all struggled for fitness and consistent goal scoring form this season, with none of the quartet yet to pass the 10-goal landmark for the campaign.
Origi has scored nine goals, Sturridge and Benteke eight apiece, while Ings has just three after being sidelined for most of the season with a cruciate ligament injury.
In other Liverpool news, Dele Alli has revealed why he overlooked the Merseysiders to join Tottenham.