Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has pointed towards Divock Origi’s contract extension as a factor in why the club didn’t push the boat out for Timo Werner.
Despite being heavily tipped to land RB Leipzig striker Werner for several months, Liverpool decided against a deal and were left to watch on as the player joined Premier League rivals Chelsea instead.
With a release clause of £53m, many were surprised Liverpool backed away from the deal. Werner’s 28 Bundesliga goals this season hint at what could be one of the bargains of the summer, but the impact of the pandemic has shifted Liverpool’s priorities.
Jurgen Klopp has spoken of how the club don’t expect to spend big this summer following months of financial uncertainty – though links continue for Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara.
With pursestrings tighter than normal, former Red Owen has questioned Liverpool’s attacking depth, while also suggesting that a new contract for Origi may have been a factor in restricting the club’s flexibility in the transfer market.
Owen told Premier League Productions, via the Express: “Will Origi and Takumi Minamino be there next season? Yes they will.
“Origi’s just signed a new contract and Minamino’s only just signed. They are there and they’re fixed but that doesn’t mean you can’t question whether they should be.
“He’d [Origi had] done what he’d done [in the Champions League final] and all of a sudden they thought that he’s done that so you have to give them a new contract. That’s now prevented them from going and spending big on a back-up striker.”
Despite his reputation as someone who pops up and scores important goals for Liverpool when they need them, Origi has struggled to hit the back of the net on a regular basis. In fact, the Belgian has only scored one goal in 2020, with a total of five throughout the entire season.
Owen added that he believes Klopp and Liverpool may regret the decision to watch Werner head to Stamford Bridge.
“Timo Werner was obviously a player that Liverpool were linked to and he’s eventually gone to Chelsea.
“I think that type of player would have been brilliant for Liverpool. They signed Origi on a long-term contract that virtually ruled out a back-up striker and I’m not sure that they don’t need a better one.”