PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons
“It’s Saturday night, and I like the way you move – Divock Origi! He cuts inside and slots it past the blues – Divock Origi!”
The chant can be heard on a regular basis in Anfield and Liverpool pubs across the globe. Origi, the unassuming Belgian striker, looks set to leave Liverpool at the end of this season and he will be remembered as a cult hero.
Rumours have been rife the past few weeks that Origi, a free agent at the end of the season, is set to sign for AC Milan. The forward is someone Klopp could always call on to pop up and score goals at crucial times. Although it seemed like he was not initially favoured by Klopp. Perhaps he didn’t like Origi’s relaxed attitude. Origi adapted, turned himself into a super-sub and made himself an important member of the squad.
Divock Origi on Jurgen Klopp:— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) April 6, 2022
"He knows how to read the team. The way he spoke to the team last season when it was really tough, he knows how to relate to different players to get the best out of them. He is one of the best managers in the world." #awlive [lfc] pic.twitter.com/TveAoG83y3
Origi’s most recent contribution was an injury time winner away at Wolves in December last year. It was a goal that could yet prove vital in the title race. Liverpool found it difficult to break down a stubborn defence. Origi came on in the second half and offered something different in that game.
Liverpool tends to play in a 4-3-3 formation and rely a lot on their wide players. But when he came on as a more traditional centre striker, it made the team more unpredictable. In injury time when it looked like Liverpool was going to drop two points, Salah tricked his way into the penalty box and pulled it back for Origi who swivelled and slotted home.
After the game, Klopp described Origi as incredibly talented. “He can shoot with right and left; his technical level is incredible; he’s really, really, really quick; he is in the air, how we all know, a monster as well.
“He is a really interesting package. But that doesn’t mean that you are a constant starter for Liverpool FC because of the quality we have. That’s how it is. That’s how life is.”
The truth of the matter is that unless your name is Salah, Mane or Firmino you are not guaranteed to be in Liverpool’s starting eleven. Competition for places in the front three have also increased with the recent additions of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz, and Origi has found his game time limited.
He is the ultimate professional, though. Never complains, and just gets on with it in training. He is always there and reliable when Liverpool needs him the most.
Liverpool fans will be hoping for a couple more contributions from the Belgian in the closing stages of the season. Liverpool fans understand him pursuing more first team football, but they most certainly will miss him. Indeed, Liverpool social media pages have been flooded with good luck messages for the striker.
Some of his iconic goals include injury time winners against Merseyside rivals Everton, two crucial goals in the famous Champions League semi-final comeback against Barcelona in 2019, as well as a goal vs Spurs in the final to seal the Champions League that year.
The words “corner taken quickly” don’t really mean much to the average football fan but they do to Liverpool. After losing the first leg 3-0 to Barcelona and with Salah being injured, the likes of Origi had to step up. He most certainly did. He scored an early tap-in goal that rocked Barcelona and they never really recovered.
Then in the 79th minute, quick thinking from Trent Alexander-Arnold, leads to one of the club’s most iconic goals. Alexander-Arnold places the ball on the corner, instead of waiting for his teammates, he notices an unmarked Origi. He takes it quickly, across the ground it finds Origi and he slots into the top corner to give Liverpool the lead. Liverpool fans go wild and Barcelona crumble. Origi found himself in the right place at the right time and secured the remarkable comeback to win 4-0.
The end of the game will be remembered for Liverpool players and coaching staff lining up in front of the Kop stand and singing You’ll Never Walk Alone with the fans. “The whole game. The whole performance was too much. It was overwhelming. I watched in my life so many football games, but I can’t remember many like this. Winning is already difficult but winning with a clean sheet, I don’t know how the boys did it.
“It’s 10 past 10, most of your children are probably in bed but these boys are f*cking talented giants. It’s unbelievable. Fine me if you want. I’m not native so I don’t have better words for it,” an emotional Klopp said in his post-match interview.
Origi has done more for Liverpool than just score important goals. BBC reported that the striker has set up a scholarship to help empower young people at the University of Liverpool. The scholarship covers the full first year tuition fee as well as living expenses for the students – two young students have recently started their degrees through this scholarship. Yet another reason why he deserves a statue outside Anfield.
The truth is that without Origi’s contribution, Liverpool wouldn’t have completed their famous comeback and go on to win the competition. He just has a knack of popping up in the right place at the right time and that’s why he is adored by Liverpool fans. He may not be the first name on the team sheet, but he has definitely reached cult hero status.