When Divock Origi signed for Liverpool in July 2014, expectations were somewhat high. Coming off an impressive debut campaign for Belgium at the 2014 World Cup, Liverpool cashed in on a future star. Fast forward to 2022, the term ‘future star’ simply does not define Divock Origi. Instead, ‘Liverpool legend’ is more of a fitting tribute.
To many football fans, Divock Origi and Liverpool seemed to be an incompatible relationship. Plagued by injuries combined with an unsuccessful initial loan move back to Lille in 2014, Origi took his time adapting to the Liverpool style of play. In fact, the arrival of Jurgen Klopp played a striking role in Origi’s development at the club. A dash of ‘heavy metal’ football allowed Origi’s Liverpool career to take off, though this would not be until the 2018/19 season.
All it took was one moment. One simple error.
02 December 2018. Deep into stoppage time, Liverpool still at deadlock against bitter rivals Everton. A half-chance for Van Dijk squandered with the ball seemingly struck into the heavens. Yet, Van Dijk’s effort dropped rapidly onto the bar. Everton keeper Pickford hopelessly misjudging the ball. Suddenly heartache turned into hope as the ball bounced back onto the pitch. Who was there to reign as Liverpool’s saviour? Divock Origi. Heading into the empty net, Anfield erupted…
This was just the beginning.
As a Liverpool fan, I never expected the 2018/19 season to go the way that it did. On the verge of defeat at the hands of Messi’s Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final, Liverpool seemed void of hope.
07 May 2019. This was the day I truly felt a connection with Liverpool. A rollercoaster of emotions. The day that Divock Origi turned from ‘cult hero’ into ‘Liverpool legend’. With no Salah or Firmino, Klopp selected Origi to lead the line. It was a gamble that became a blessing. Origi netted quickly to get Liverpool on the front foot. A 3-0 deficit to overturn, Liverpool showed shades of Istanbul 2005 as they managed to bring the tie back to 3-3. Anfield was rocking. One more goal to get Liverpool into their second consecutive Champions League Final.
The ball went out of play for a corner kick, the ball boy quickly threw the ball to Trent Alexander-Arnold who, facing the Kop End, created the cheekiest assist in modern football. “Corner Taken Quickly, Origi”. Origi calmly slotted the ball into the roof of the net, Barcelona completely asleep. As the final whistle blew, I remember jumping up and down with joy; I’m sure I woke my neighbours up.
Rival fans will question how a ‘bench player’ can be deserving of a statue outside the fortress of Anfield. Origi has built a special place inside Liverpool fans’ hearts.
Netting in Liverpool’s classic 4-3 triumph over Borussia Dortmund in 2016; scoring the vital goal to ensure Liverpool defeated Spurs for European glory in 2019; crucial goals against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup; against Wolves in the 2021/22 season; against AC Milan in the Champions League, where the Reds became the first English side to win all their group games in the competition. Arguably the most impressive statistic, Origi has netted six times against Everton – understandable why some Everton fans have nightmares over Origi’s presence at Liverpool.
24 April 2022. Origi was there, bringing home the 3 points against arch-rivals Everton. Anfield lifted as the crowds celebrated; jubilation with a message: ‘Thank you, Origi’. With Origi potentially heading to AC Milan in the summer, the 2-0 win over Everton on 24 April may have been Origi’s Anfield swansong. I only have this to say about the man who turned from ‘future star’ to ‘Liverpool legend’:
Time to build Divock Origi a statue outside Anfield.