It’s proved to be quite the year for Divock Origi.
Less than two years ago, the Belgian international was farmed out on loan by Liverpool to Wolfsburg, his long-term future at the club seemingly in jeopardy having once been regarded as a bright prospect.
Upon his return to Anfield he was strongly linked with a permanent move away, only to remain with Jurgen Klopp’s side and embark on a year that would establish himself as a true cult hero on Merseyside with a series of crucial late interventions.
Here are five times Divock Origi made himself a Liverpool hero with crucial late goals…
Derby day winner
Liverpool have long had their own way in Merseyside derbies, particularly at Anfield with Everton having not taken three points from their arch-rivals since a Kevin Campbell winner two decades ago.
That said, last season’s encounter proved to be a frustrating one for Jurgen Klopp’s side, a lacklustre performance seemingly heading towards a goalless draw, a result which would dent their title hopes.
There seemed little danger when Virgil van Dijk sliced a volley that seemed to be drifting harmlessly over in the sixth minute of stoppage time, only for Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to brainlessly fumble the ball onto his own crossbar with the alert Origi lurking.
The Belgian was been introduced for his first Premier League appearance in well over a year, and it was certainly one to remember as he capitalised on Pickford’s gift to head home the most dramatic of Kop end winners.
The 232nd Merseyside derby would end in wild celebrations for those in Liverpool red, with Origi at the heart of it.
Late winner at Newcastle keeps title hopes alive
Sandwiched between two legs of a Champions League semi-final meeting with Barcelona, a trip to St James’ Park always looked like a tricky proposition for a Liverpool side chasing silverware on two fronts.
It would prove so, the meeting with former manager Rafael Benitez and his Newcastle side proving to be a topsy-turvy affair, as Liverpool were twice pegged back by equalisers and the game seemingly headed towards an entertaining 2-2 draw.
As has so often been the case in recent times, Klopp would look to his bench and Origi to turn the tie, with his decision once again paying dividends.
With just four minutes remaining the forward would rise highest to meet Xherdan Shaqiri’s in swinging free-kick, nodding home yet another late winner and keeping Liverpool’s title hopes well and truly alive.
Corner taken quickly… Origi!!!
The game, and moment, above all else that would truly cement Origi’s place as a Liverpool cult hero.
Having been thumped 3-0 in Spain just a week earlier, few gave Jurgen Klopp’s side much hope of reaching a second successive Champions League final as they prepared to host Barcelona in the second leg at Anfield.
Their task was made all the more difficult by the absences of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, though thrust into the starting XI it would be Origi who would spark and seal the most improbable of comebacks.
Origi’s seventh-minute goal would create faint hopes of yet another famous European night on Merseyside, before substitute Georginio Wijnaldum’s double remarkably put the tie in the balance.
In a feverish atmosphere, it would be Origi who would once again keep his cool, however, reacting quickest to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s quickly taken corner to score Liverpool’s fourth late on.
The Barcelona players seemed shell-shocked at their own capitulation, as Origi’s goal booked Liverpool’s place in a Madrid final.
Origi seals Liverpool’s sixth Champions League title
Despite his match-winning heroics in the semi-final, Origi would find himself in his almost obligatory role as super-sub for the Champions League final in Madrid, as first-choice attackers Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane lined up for an all-English meeting with Tottenham.
Salah’s second-minute penalty had given Liverpool an early lead in what turned out to be a stinker of a final not likely to be remembered by the neutrals, though Origi would enter the fray in the second half and make his mark on Europe’s biggest stage
With the game finely balanced a half-cleared corner would eventually break to the forward, who took one step to steady himself before firing home a precise left-footed finish into the bottom corner.
The goal sealed Champions League success for Liverpool who were crowned champions of Europe for a sixth time – Origi, again the man for the big occasion.
Stoppage-time salvation in crazy cup contest
Given a rare start for a Carabao Cup tie with Arsenal at Anfield in October, the 24-year-old would act as an experienced figure in a much-changed Liverpool side that contained several academy graduates.
What would ensue would be one of the most memorable cup ties in recent years, as the two sides exchanged goals at a frantic pace. An early own goal had handed Liverpool the lead, though Arsenal soon hit back to make it 3-1 to the visitors with just over half an hour played.
James Milner’s penalty pulled one back before Arsenal restored their two-goal lead, only for an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stunner and a fine Origi strike to level a frankly bonkers fixture at 4-4.
The drama was not done, however, Joe Willock’s effort from distance giving the Gunners the lead once more, and Liverpool’s hopes of reaching the last eight seemed in doubt as the game entered stoppage-time.
As he has on so many occasions previously, it would be Origi to the rescue once more, meeting debutant Neco Williams’ cross to equalise in the 94th minute and force penalties.
The ever-cool customer would also dispatch his spot-kick as the Reds advanced in the shoot-out, the unlikely Liverpool hero continuing to deliver.
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