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Liverpool legend banished to youth team as exile confirmed

Divock Origi left Liverpool at the end of the 2021/22 season
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)


Given the success of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool during his nine years at Anfield, it's no surprise when former Reds struggle to recapture such heights after leaving the club.

Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can, Gini Wijnaldum, Xherdan Shaqiri, Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson were all swiftly discarded after leaving Liverpool for pastures new, with the likes of Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all tipped to do the same this summer.

While the majority of the aforementioned players won every major honour going at Anfield, it has been well-documented how they all found out the hard way that the grass is rarely greener when embarking on a post-Reds career.

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And while some at least enjoyed a reprieve elsewhere after an ill-judged move, it has become increasingly clear that the only way is down after leaving the heights of Liverpool behind.

Reds legend Divock Origi is another former star to have struggled after leaving Anfield, yet the Belgian has now sunk to a new low that his former team-mates have at least all been fortunate enough to avoid.

Joining AC Milan on a free transfer at the end of his Liverpool contract in 2022, the striker scored just twice from 36 appearances and made only 10 starts during his first season with the Italian outfit.

Consequently, Milan soon decided the Belgian was surplus to requirements. Left out of their squad for the opening matches of the 2023/24 season, he was loaned to Nottingham Forest on transfer deadline day, with the deal including an option to buy.

However, Forest decided against activating such a clause as Origi struggled in the East Midlands, scoring only once for the club (in the FA Cup), and starting only eight of his 22 appearances. Their transfer stance became clear during the final weeks of the campaign as the striker was left as an unused substitute.

The 29-year-old is now back with AC Milan, who have a new manager in charge in Paulo Fonseca. But there will be no reprieve for Origi, who still has another two years left to run on his contract.

AC Milan reported back for pre-season on Monday, but Origi’s name was absent from the squad list of players who took part that was published by the club.

And in a press conference, Milan legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played alongside Origi during the 2022/23 season and is now a senior adviser to the club after hanging up his boots, confirmed that the striker had been banished to Milan Futuro, the Italian outfit’s youth squad that plays in Serie C.

"It's not true that they haven't been called up,” the Swede declared at Fonesca’s unveiling. “The two of them (Origi and Fode Ballo Toure) have been called up, but for the Milan Futuro team. They are not part of the first team."

Stripped of his squad number, Origi is comfortably the oldest player in a group made up of Under-21s. While he had been expected to be surplus to requirements at the San Siro anyway, Ibrahimovic’s statement has made the Serie A outfit’s stance clear as they look to force the striker out of the club.

Famously a Champions League winner with Liverpool, Origi will no doubt hope to get his future resolved soon rather than later as he looks to avoid a lengthy exile at AC Milan.

While he found himself very much on the fringes of Klopp’s Reds squad after a loan move to VfL Wolfsburg in 2018, he belatedly forced his way back into the German’s plans to help Liverpool win the Champions League and become a club legend.

Kopites learned repeatedly never to write off Origi during the forward’s seven years on Merseyside, but at this point the possibility of lightning striking twice certainly seems a step too far.