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Sunday 11 December 2016

Origi aims to be top of the Kop for Klopp

Liverpool’s Divock Origi
Liverpool’s Divock Origi

Divock Origi is aiming to become an "important player" for Liverpool after making a goalscoring return to action in Saturday's pre-season game against AC Milan.

The Reds beat their Serie A opponents 2-0 in the International Champions Cup clash in Santa Clara, with substitutes Origi and Roberto Firmino finding the net.

Origi, on his first outing since turning out for Belgium at Euro 2016, opened the scoring just before the hour mark with a smart turn and finish.

The 21-year-old shone at times last term but has yet to cement his spot in the Liverpool team - something he is keen to address.

"I'm very happy to be back on the pitch," he said.

"I can feel the confidence from everyone and can improve and enjoy my game.

"Year by year I'm improving and I'm still young. The most important thing is to make steps and last year I had some good moments, so I want to learn and become more consistent to help the team even more and become an important player in the team."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is also tipping Origi to make an impact for Jurgen Klopp's team, despite battling the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings and Christian Benteke for game time up front.

"Since he's come into the club he has progressed throughout his time here and he is getting better and better," Henderson said.

"I thought he finished last season brilliantly and then got a bad injury, but he is looking sharp in pre-season again and I think he is going to have a big season because he is a big player for us."

Klopp's team bounced back from last Wednesday's defeat to Chelsea with a deserved success over their Italian opponents.

Liverpool - with James Milner playing at left-back - were on top in the first half, with new signing Sadio Mane seeing plenty of the ball and almost setting up Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge with crosses.

Firmino and Origi were among the half-time substitutes - and Origi broke the deadlock in the 59th minute, showing good footwork before cutting inside and shooting into the far corner.

The Belgian had another goal ruled out in the 71st minute for offside, before Firmino doubled Liverpool's lead two minutes later, sliding in at the far post to tap in a deflected cross from substitute Sheyi Ojo. The Reds take on Barcelona at Wembley on Saturday, before opening their Premier League campaign at Arsenal on August 14.

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