Divock Origi is currently on a farewell tour. Eight years is a long time and sometime is good. In the summer, the Belgian will leave Liverpool FC to go to Milan, Istanbul or Newcastle, the transfer experts are not yet in complete agreement. He came on as a late substitute in the Liverpool derby against Everton on Sunday and later scored the goal to make it 2-0 in the final. The 27-year-old is a topic of conversation around Anfield these days. On Wednesday, Villarreal visit Liverpool for the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals. Once again a Spanish team in the round of four, like that evening in spring 2019, which is still inseparably linked to Divock Origi to this day.
It was the second leg against FC Barcelona, and a tense event was not to be expected. Firstly, Barça had won the first leg 3-0 and secondly, Liverpool’s two best attacking players, Brazilian Roberto Firmino and Egyptian Mohamed Salah, were missing. Just two days before the Anglo-Spanish summit in European football, the Reds had had to work hard in their domestic league operations to keep their theoretical chance of winning the Premier League alive in Newcastle. At that point, Barcelona had long since won the Spanish championship and sent eleven substitutes onto the pitch for the annoying obligation to play in Vigo.
The modern football of the third millennium had once again fallen into disrepute for being predictable. In the suspicion that even at the highest level, the results are already designed and fixed in the laptop. But Liverpool FC opposed it that evening, with virtues that football had once claimed for itself, but which were ultimately considered antiquated. With unconditional passion and certainty of victory, this team turned a semi-final that was actually impossible to turn.
Jürgen Klopp moderated the miracle of Anfield with a typical Jürgen Klopp sentence: “As long as we can still get eleven players together, we’ll try everything!” It suited Liverpool’s German coach that one of these eleven players was Divock Origi. One who usually played a minor role in the spectacular offensive in the shadow of Salah, Firmino or Sadio Mané. But against Barcelona he played the game of his life. After just a few minutes he blew the lead with an early 1-0 attack, which substitute Georginio Wijnaldum continued perfectly with two goals in the second half.
Liverpool had drawn level. But the best was yet to come. In the guise of a corner taken by Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold when he wasn’t supposed to and just wanted to drape the ball for his colleague Xherdan Shaqiri. But because the ball boy had already done that, Alexander-Arnold apparently retreated – and yet noticed from the corner of his eye how disorderly FC Barcelona managed their penalty area. So he turned in a flash, took a two-step run and curled the ball in front of goal, where Origi kicked it with his right foot past a stunned Marc-André Ter Stegen into the net. What an inspiration, what a goal, what a culmination of an incredible game!
Three weeks later Liverpool won the Madrid final 2-0 against Tottenham Hotspur and the final goal scored, of course, Divock Origi.