LONDON (Reuters) – There is often nothing more dangerous than a striker with a point to prove as Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi showed in Liverpool’s League Cup mauling of Southampton on Wednesday.
The pair made their mark in emphatic fashion as Liverpool ran out 6-1 winners at St Mary’s, Sturridge scoring twice with clinical finishes and Origi grabbing his own headlines with a hat-trick.
Neither player has enjoyed the best start to the season and for differing reasons needed to show new manager Juergen Klopp what they were truly capable of.
Sturridge, making his first start since the beginning of October, scored with two clinical finishes to turn the quarter-final tie Liverpool’s way after Southampton had found the net within a minute.
The striker has had his motivation and desire to play through the pain barrier openly questioned by fans and pundits after a series of injuries have kept him sidelined for a vast part of the last two seasons.
His talent has never been doubted, however, and the England frontman gave a timely reminder of his finishing prowess with superbly-taken first-half goals that had his manager purring.
“It was not too bad what Daniel Sturridge did after his long break,” Klopp told Sky Sports after leading his team into the semi-finals.
“I told him ‘now I know what everybody’s talking about!’ the first time I saw him do it live for me in the stadium.”
For Origi, the match was more about showing his manager that he could add goals to his energetic displays, having demonstrated all the attributes of a top striker in the early season, except the most important quality of all.
In his opening 10 appearances for the club he had failed to find the net and after starting in Klopp’s first games in charge, he had seemingly slipped down the pecking order in recent weeks.
After he opened the his account somewhat fortuitously with Liverpool’s third goal, directing a shot from Alberto Moreno into the net from close range, he gave a hint as to why the club paid 10 million pounds ($14.9 million) to lure him from French side Lille.
He thrashed home Liverpool’s fourth goal from the edge of the area and directed a well-placed header into the net to round off the scoring.
“It’s a tough situation for him (Origi), he knows he has to learn,” Klopp said.
“That’s what he wants to do and for this you need some time to play and that’s what we gave him tonight. He did great.”
(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Ed Osmond)