After more Merseyside derby day heroics from Divock Origi, just how great is the lasting impact he has left on Liverpool Football Club?
“FOOTBALL without Origi is nothing” — a slogan graffitied on a wall in Brooklyn and etched in all of our minds forever.
Except, for a while now, football without Divock Origi has been Liverpool’s reality. Despite the clear admiration from fans and his name echoing around Anfield when spotted warming up, Origi often falls fifth or sixth in line when it comes to team selection.
An unfortunate byproduct of our talent upfront, the Belgian has made just 16 appearances this season, with 11 of those coming off the bench. We have seen him on the pitch for only a few minutes since the FA Cup fixture against Norwich in early March.
And yet, the news that he is all but certainly making a move this summer is tinged with not just a hint but a bucketload of sadness. His contract is set to expire and AC Milan has come calling, and after all the 27-year-old will want to play regular football as he enters the peak years of his career. It is hard to deny the logic, but that doesn’t mean many of us will try.
From scoring the goal that secured us the Champions League title in Madrid, to starting and finishing the job of overturning a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona in 2019, you could write a book on all the iconic moments and goals Origi has given us since he joined The Reds back in 2014.
His winner in the dying moments against Wolves in December will go down as one of his most important of the season if we go on to win the league. “Be Divock,” Jurgen Klopp instructed before substituting him in that game, and that’s exactly what he did. Surely, at least one last Divock Origi moment was inevitable.
Despite 83 per cent possession across the 90 minutes, Everton did a good job at frustrating both the fans and the players in the first half. Using questionable tactics to waste time and prevent Liverpool from gathering momentum, finding a way through felt inevitable, but how it would happen was another question.
Mo Salah was being swarmed every time he touched the ball and appeared isolated, Sadio Mane had limited space to move into, and Diogo Jota struggled to impose himself on the game. The manager knew he needed to give the Everton defence something else to occupy their thoughts: enter Origi.
He is a man that understands how to keep a cool head and knows what it takes to win a derby. It can’t be underestimated how difficult it is to slot back into a football team of this calibre both mentally and physically.
From an attitude perspective, many players would be fed up with being left on the bench, but instead he is grateful for every opportunity he gets to make a difference.
“It’s a joy to be able to play here,” he said to LFCTV after the game. “In the end, I’m grateful that opportunities come in these games — it makes it even more special and puts us in a good momentum for the season as well.”
We all know he is capable of coming on and scoring goals, but the immediate impact he made on Sunday was perhaps more surprising. For someone that has barely played in two months, his touch looked sharp, his pressing and work rate off the ball strong, and his positioning excellent.
His touch and pop of the ball to Salah in the lead up to the first goal was crucial, and he proved why he is so often unplayable in big games. It’s as if he has an unspoken power which prevents the pressure from getting to him.
There was no chance he’d be satisfied with that though, was there? We needed more, and he delivered. Always in the right place at the right time, his signature header into the top of the net from Luis Diaz’ volley catapulted him to fifth on the list for Liverpool’s most top-flight goals against Everton. He joins Robbie Fowler, Kenny Dalglish and Steven Gerrrard — not bad company.
He also put himself above Daniel Sturridge as Liverpool’s highest-scoring substitute in the Premier League era. Some impact. His commitment to making a difference whenever the chance presents itself is unbeatable, and it’s exactly that mentality that has us entering May with three trophies on the line.
Not every player gets to play the star role, but each of them know they are integral to the success of the team: a team that has won the Champions League and Premier League and is looking to add to that this season. A team that might lose a key piece in the summer with the departure of Origi, and so one that we need to cherish as much as possible while we can.
Split seconds and moments go on to define history, and Divock Origi is making sure that he is being written into it. We might be forced to let him go quietly, but what he has done for this football club will remain forever.
I can’t wait to take my grandkids to visit his statue one day.
“Origi’s movement for the second is tremendous, he’s just so alive to things. It feels like there are going to be more big moments for Divock this season.”— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) April 25, 2022
🎙 Liverpool 2 Everton 0: The Anfield Wrap
Listen for FREE 👉 https://t.co/0DtAQj7wJr
Watch 👉 https://t.co/PGysPotkIE pic.twitter.com/W8pvsM8g0j