24 years ago in the Belgian coastal city of Ostend, Divock Okoth Origi was born.
‘Big Div’ caught the eyes of many following his stint in the 2014 World Cup, so it was shrewd business by the Reds snapping up his services for roughly £9.8m after the tournament’s end (with the obligation that he be loaned back to Lille for another season first).
Upon his arrival in the summer of 2015, Origi was unable to get a start under Brendan Rodgers, but his first would come in successor Jurgen Klopp’s first Premier League game as Liverpool manager away to Spurs at the now defunct White Hart Lane.
Today we’ll look back on what I personally consider to be Divock’s top five goals in a Liverpool shirt. It’s all subjective, of course – feel free to agree, disagree or even suggest your own top five!
Another thing to bear in mind is that both the goal’s quality and its significance have been factored in. Honourable mentions include the 95th minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion in December 2015 (a poor result, granted, but it could have been much worse if not for Origi’s heroics) and his first goal for the club against Southampton, also in December 2015, in the League Cup quarter final.
Another one that narrowly missed out was his strike off the bench against Everton in April 2017 to wrap the game up, a truly emphatic finish against a team he’s developed a knack for scoring against – more on that later…
#5 – Middlesbrough (A) – December 14, 2016
This goal’s placement is due to its quality as a superb team move, exemplifying Liverpool’s high-octane, attacking style at the time.
Throughout the game, the Reds played some remarkable football and the attacking unit of Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Divock Origi complemented one another very well.
Winning this game was crucial to ensuring Liverpool kept the pressure on leaders Chelsea going into the new year. Origi’s goal would come in the 60th minute as a result of intricate one-touch passing to split the Middlesbrough defence open.
Mané and Wijnaldum – two recent arrivals signed that summer – combined with a couple quick one-twos before the Dutchman poked the ball down the flank for Lallana to run onto. The Englishman immediately played the ball across the box for Origi to poke home.
#4 – Southampton (A) – December 2, 2015
In the honourable mentions, I referred to Origi’s first goal for the club in the League Cup quarter final victory over Southampton in 2015. It was his secondnd goal from that same game, however, that made a lasting impression on Reds fans as it was a goal that showcased the Belgian’s true quality in front of goal.
The Reds were already 3-1 up at this point and looked on track to seal a place in the semi-final. Substitute Jordon Ibe played a neat through ball to the right hand side of the box and Origi ran on to this ball with Steven Caulker closing in on him, hitting a right footed strike with venom and precision from a tight angle past Maarten Stekelenberg’s near post.
The Belgian would seal his hat-trick nearly 20 minutes later, heading in Brad Smith’s perfect cross, but it was Origi’s second of the game that exemplified his pinpoint accuracy from close range.
#3 – Bournemouth (A) – December 4, 2016
Firstly, Reds, let me apologise for putting the memory of this match back into your heads – one of the low moments of Klopp’s tenure as Liverpool manager and a sign of how troublesome the defence could be at that point.
Nevertheless, it was in this game when Divock would score one of his most memorable goals for Liverpool. Three minutes after Sadio Mané opened the scoring, the striker showed great speed and rounded Artur Boruc, and though it looked like the target was at too acute an angle to reach, Origi had the skill to lift the ball into the goalmouth.
Perhaps had the result been different, this goal would be much more fresh in the minds of Reds fans.
#2 – Borussia Dortmund (A) – April 7, 2016
When Liverpool were drawn against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League quarter finals, the narratives wrote themselves. Two sides with long-standing mutual respect for one another, and the reunion of Jurgen Klopp with his beloved Dortmund, a side he had managed for seven years.
With the world watching this blockbuster tie at Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund were arguably the favourites to win the whole tournament, boasting a side with the likes of Mats Hummels, Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
But it was Liverpool who had the crucial away goal going into the second leg when Divock Origi controlled captain Henderson’s slightly awkward ball before turning towards goal and steering a low strike into the far corner.
One could argue Origi’s goal in the second leg at Anfield was more significant, but I would personally lean towards this one for the skill involved in the finish.
#1 – Everton (H) – December 2, 2018
What other option was there?
A goal we’ve all probably watched about 100 times, memorising the exact intricacies from Virgil’s hopeful swing to Klopp’s cross-field run in celebration. A goal of significant proportions in the Premier League title race, and a goal that once again secures bragging rights over the blue side of Merseyside.
When Divock Origi was substituted on in the 85th minute, a 0-0 draw looked the most likely outcome. Following an average loan spell at Wolfsburg, Divock Origi was very much a forgotten man at Anfield, it was very much in doubt that he would supply the winner when the likes of Mané, Firmino and Salah could not.
Over 10 minutes had passed since he had been substituted on and the score remained at 0-0. Virgil van Dijk took a wild swing with a 25-yard volley that was horribly miscued – the Dutchman turned away in disgust, and the Reds supporters audibly groaned, yet the ball began to dip and Jordan Pickford, in a moment of madness, tipped it onto the crossbar and it dropped back onto the pitch.
England’s No.1 goalkeeper was flailing and who else but Divock Origi was there to accept the gift, heading the ball in to wild celebrations that followed, most notably from the gaffer.
Far from his most beautiful or technically difficult goal but clearly his best moment in a Liverpool shirt, creating a moment for the history books in what could potentially be a season for the history books.