New Liverpool striker Divock Origi has vowed to build on his eye-catching debut for the Merseyside club as he looks to secure a starting spot at Anfield.
The young Belgian striker, son of former Harambee Stars captain Mike Okoth, marked his first appearance for the Reds by heading home the final goal in Tuesday night’s 4-0 thrashing of Thai All Stars in Bangkok.
Origi relished the chance to finally pull on the shirt – 12 months after he signed for Liverpool in a £10million deal.
Lille would only do business on the basis that he stayed for another season on loan and Origi endured a difficult campaign in France before finally heading for Merseyside.
“It felt great to score my first goal,” Origi said.
“It is always good for the confidence and it feels special to score in my first game.
“I could have scored more goals but I am happy. It was wonderful to play in Thailand in front of all the supporters.
“It wasn’t easy waiting to join Liverpool because everybody wants to join a big club like Liverpool. I was very excited for the new challenge.
“Now I have come here I can see that the club is even bigger than I thought. And it is always nice to be playing with such good players.”
With Liverpool yet to wrap up a deal for Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke and Daniel Sturridge missing the start of the season due to injury, the opportunity is there for Origi to prove to Brendan Rodgers he’s one for the present as well as the future.
“It is up to the coach to make the choices,” he said.
“I just have to be ready, try to learn a lot and if I get the chance to give everything.
“I am confident about myself and now I am in a good place. But I’m still young and I still have a lot to learn.
“Playing with experienced players and a very good staff can help me improve every day. I have to focus on myself and improving, then the coach will make the choices.”
Origi endured a five-month goal drought at Lille last season before breaking it in style with a hat-trick against Rennes in March. He ended up with eight league goals in 33 matches.
Rodgers kept in regular contact with Origi throughout the year – giving him feedback on his performances – and the 20-year-old says that show of support kept him going.
“I had a lot of contact but I would like to keep it quiet what was said,” he said.
“There was good communication and it is always good to know that there is a club like Liverpool that want me.
“I am very passionate about football so I was always watching Liverpool last season but I don’t want to talk about last season. That’s gone.
“I think I am a better player now than a year ago. I’m still young and at this stage of your career you are learning a lot of things.
“I just feel that now I’m at the right moment at the right place to be able to become a good player.”
Origi has received plenty of pointers about what to expect in the Premier League from his international team-mates, including Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet and Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.
“Vincent is always trying to help me. He is a great guy and an inspiration so it will be nice to see him in the Premier League,” Origi said
“All the Belgian players who play in England always tell me good things about the Premier League. They are all excited and very happy to be playing against the teams.
“They told me I’d enjoy the Premier League as long as I give everything so I am excited to see how it goes.”