By Connor Varnish – @cvarn4
Divock Origi and late heroics have become one of the many themes of Liverpool’s Premier League campaign this year.
The 24-year-old Belgian only furthered his status as a cult hero this past Saturday following yet another late winner to secure the Reds another three vital points at St James’ Park in Liverpool’s 3-2 victory. And let’s not even talk about his stunning performance against Barcelona in the Champions League…
It’s a sight that supporters have become used to seeing over the course of 37 games played this far, and many are calling for Origi to be rewarded with a contract extension and perhaps even a place in the starting XI as a result of his timely and important strikes.
Just when you start to think Origi’s Anfield future was in doubt, he pops up and delivers in the biggest of moments. Many considered him surplus to requirement in the beginning of the season, but Divock has proven otherwise practically every time he’s stepped on the pitch in a red shirt this season.
Should Liverpool find themselves top of the league after next weekend, Origi will no doubt have been a deciding factor contributing to the Reds lifting a 19th domestic title. The Belgian has now directly won the Reds six points via late goals – how could one forget his infamous header at Anfield to devastate the blue half of Merseyside at Anfield this past winter?
Another affable trait of Liverpool’s Belgian striker that perhaps doesn’t quite get the plaudits that Origi deserves is his consistent professional attitude despite his lack of first team minutes. While I’m sure Divock wants to play every week, he’s displayed nothing but class off the pitch – the 24-year-old consistently praises his teammates and portrays a team first attitude in all of his interviews.
Divock Origi, who still is continuing to improve as a player, has all the mental traits that make him exactly what Jurgen Klopp wants in an impact sub – a man who is always ready when called upon and one who clearly prioritises the collective team rather than his personal merits.
The Belgian, however, hasn’t gotten to where he is all by being modest and putting the team ahead of his own ego. Origi is the full package. His injection of pace an directness off the bench is a breath of fresh air compared to recent seasons where the Reds have clearly lacked a similar option when looking for an impact sub.
Of course, there’s always going to be a drop in quality when one of Mané, Firmino, Salah aren’t in the starting XI, but Divock does well to make himself a viable replacement should he ever get the nod.
With uncertainty surrounding the availability of Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah for the visit of Wolves on Sunday, it begs the question of who will lead the line should Liverpool’s No.9 and No.11 miss action for the last match of the season?
While Origi may not lead the line per se, as I’m sure one if Mo Salah or Sadio Mané would be favourites to toe the line up top if both are available, the Belgian will certainly be in with a shout to occupy a wide forward position in any absence of the front three.
Divock Origi is certainly worthy of a place up top, especially when his only competition right now seemingly is a 29-year-old Daniel Sturridge, ravaged with injuries that have robbed him of his pace, flair and mobility in the attacking third.
On the other hand, it’s also a fair and valid argument to say that the Belgian does his best work off the bench to impact matches – he always seems fresher and a step quicker than everyone else when he’s able to come on in the second half against a tired opposition.
Wolves have seventh place all wrapped up by the time they visit Liverpool. Anfield will be bouncing for Wolves on the final day of the season – there’s a Premier League trophy up for grabs.
I, for one, would not hesitate to deem Origi worthy enough of a starting spot to lash out against Wolves in a title-decider – especially considering Liverpool’s current lack of options up top.
The 24-year-old Belgian international has stepped up when the Reds needed him most this season – it’s a massive credit to Divock Origi that he’s done all he can to play himself into contention this late in a season where the Reds are fighting for their first top flight title in almost three decades.
He has stood up to be counted and possesses enough quality to deserve his place in the team. His pace and directness edge it, for me, when looking at our other strike options on the bench. He offers a dynamism on and off the ball that Liverpool will lack should Sturridge be selected instead.
I believe Big Div has it in him to go and lead the line once again in inspired fashion, there’s no denying Divock’s commitment to the cause and I’m certain he’ll do all he can possibly do to put the Reds in the best situation to lift a trophy on the final day of the season. Here’s to another Origi 90 + …10?