Taiwo Awoniyi Shows He Has a Lot to Offer at Liverpool - But It's Divock Origi Who'll Suffer

Taiwo Awoniyi
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It's been a long time coming, but Taiwo Awoniyi has finally scored his first goal in one of Europe's major leagues.

The Nigeria Under-23 international was a second-half substitute for Mainz and he helped to spark their comeback into action, with the club fighting back from two goals down to rescue a crucial point away at FC Köln.

Awoniyi's strike was simple enough, finishing off an impressive team move by racing onto a cross at the near post to find a way past Timo Horn, but it was a statement from the 22-year-old ahead of his summer return to Liverpool.

It's a topic which has certainly been on the back burners this season. Liverpool are on track to win their first Premier League title (asterisk or not), while for Awoniyi, the form of Robin Quaison and Karim Onisiwo has left chances at Mainz at an absolute premium.

Even when he was brought off the bench against Köln, Awoniyi predominantly played out wide on the right wing, although he took it upon himself to move into a central position in the build-up to his first Mainz goal - exactly one year after his last goal, which came during a loan spell at Royal Excel Mouscron.

Awoniyi certainly didn't have enough time to leave a lasting impact on the match against Köln, but it was a small insight into what life could be like for the 22-year-old next season, when he returns to (finally) make an impact at his parent club Liverpool.

There's little point in trying to work out exactly how Awoniyi could impact Jürgen Klopp's starting XI - Roberto Firmino might have a thing or two to say about that - but his cameo appearance against Köln showed promise of what he could bring as Liverpool's new impact substitute, with expensive new arrivals at Anfield looking unlikely.

Xherdan Shaqiri should be on his way out of Anfield at the end of the season, while Divock Origi might also fancy more regular first-team football elsewhere, but Awoniyi's arrival would make things an awful lot easier for Liverpool to adapt.

The Nigerian probably has a slight edge over Origi as far as athleticism is concerned, something that has been important for Liverpool's current super sub both in the Premier League and Champions League over the last few seasons.

Like Origi, Awoniyi has shown he's just as happy when it comes to running in behind defences as he is holding the ball up with his back to goal, able to go toe to toe with Köln's Sebastiaan Bornauw and Noah Katterbach from a physical standpoint.

Things will need to improve even more if Awoniyi wants to be able to cope physically in the Premier League, but that's something which will only come if he gets enough exposure to English defences under Klopp next season.

Taiwo Awoniyi, Kevin Vogt
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Productivity has never been an issue for Awoniyi. He was directly involved in 14 goals in 16 games at Royal Excel Mouscron, and although that won't directly transfer over to the Premier League, Liverpool fans should be confident their new back-up striker will be just as prolific as Origi.

Players moving to the Premier League for the first time from abroad always need time to get up to speed, even more so in a system like Klopp's, and although many will be guessing if he'll sink or swim, Awoniyi has all the attributes to be a success as (at the very least) a squad player at Anfield.