Cult Hero Status: Divock Origi with another last minute winner for Liverpool

Featured image courtesy of Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

After breaking the deadlock at the weekend for Liverpool, Divock Origi only further cemented his status as a cult icon for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds. Winning the match for his side to keep up the chase at the top of Premier League, the Belgian calmly slotted away another important goal in a Liverpool career dominated by crucial substitute appearances. At 26, the Belgian could well favour a move away for more regular football. But, with crucial contribution after crucial contribution, he is adored by the Anfield masses.

Away from his weekend heroics against Wolves, Origi has never been the consistent goalscoring type. Managing 16 goals in 89 appearances for Lille before making the switch to Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp never sealed this deal with the Belgian coming in and being the main man up top at Anfield. Instead, as he’s become in his seven years with Liverpool, he’s used as an option to grab a goal out of nothing when the opposition are fatigued late on. This was the case at Molineux, working to devastating effect. After a valiant shut-out from Lage’s men for the majority of the match, Diogo Jota having an attempt blocked off the line, Klopp’s reliable throw of the dice in Divock Origi was used. With Mo Salah accelerating up the field, Wolves losing the ball near their area, Salah’s centre to Origi found him perfectly. Turning the defender with ease, the Belgian’s class gave Klopp’s men three points as Origi slotted past Jose Sa. A 1-0 win, Jurgen Klopp’s cry to the Belgian before bringing him on – “Just be Divock.”

What does that cry actually mean? When you look over the milestones of Origi’s career at Liverpool, it’s safe to say ‘being Divock’ usually means scoring on the big occasion. He might not have the same skill-set as Mo Salah or Sadio Mane, but he’s still as paramount. Before the aforementioned African attackers had joined The Reds, Divock’s first last gasp goal had already occurred. Salvaging a last minute draw against West Brom – Origi experiencing Liverpool in their transition period under Klopp – the ex Lille striker scoring from outside the penalty area at the death against The Baggies. In a side featuring Simon Mignolet and Jordan Ibe, Divock has been a constant part of the furniture at Liverpool for some time.

Embed from Getty Images

Transition to present day, he’s still the reliable option. One of Divock’s most infamous goals in a Liverpool shirt came in the Merseyside Derby, Everton hanging on for dear life before a Pickford blunder gave Origi another headline goal. Capitalising on an error at the death, the cult figure status was beginning to gain momentum. Scoring in the final moments at Newcastle too in that same season – The Reds narrowly winning 3-2 – that win and goal was crucial in Liverpool’s attempts to win the Premier League that campaign. The season after, however, would see  Liverpool’s first title success since 1990, Divock making 28 appearances in total.  Forget Steven Gerrard’s slip to Demba Ba, the nearly-men had now become Premier League champions. With Liverpool’s number 27 taking a back-seat, it’s the Champions League trophy secured the season prior where Origi really wrote his name into Anfield folklore.

3-0 down from the first leg at Barcelona, Jurgen Klopp’s men looked to be exiting out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage. But, an inspired performance under the lights at Anfield conjured up some more Divock Origi magic. Dismantling the Catalan giants, the Reds would later lift the Champions League Trophy in Madrid against Pochettino’s Spurs. Origi would get two out of the four goals on that famous night, his first a simple rebound after Ter Stegen originally denied Jordan Henderson. Wijnaldum would get the other two, before a goal from the history books sealed Liverpool’s progress to the Champions League final. Quick thinking from Alexandar-Arnold, a thorn in Barca’s side all night, from the corner found Origi unmarked who calmly finished past Ter Stegen into the roof of the net. Give the Belgian time and space, he will deliver. He would consolidate Liverpool’s lead in an otherwise subdued final, an early Salah penalty giving The Reds the lead. After a disastrous final the year before, Origi made sure the trophy was returning to the red part of Merseyside.

Substituted on to kill the contest, Origi’s driven shot into the bottom corner with three minutes remaining made him Liverpool’s hero. The cult hero status had reached new heights, Liverpool’s game-winning icon on the biggest stage. Even when The Reds could fork out for a better back-up striker, their 10 million pound investment from Lille in 2015 continues to deliver.

Dissecting Klopp’s post-match thoughts after their slender victory at Molineux, it’s clear to see how much he values having Divock around. At the age of 26, Klopp does state that he hopes Origi can gain first-team football away from Liverpool at some stage. Klopp wants the Belgian to be valued for the full 90 minutes, not as a bit-part player who you can throw on. Yet, with a Premier League winner’s medal alongside a Champions League success on his CV, why would Origi want to leave? With Liverpool in a three-horse race for the Premier League, prepare to see Klopp use his reliable number 27 as a player for the big moments once more. With only 103 appearances over seven years at Liverpool, you would think from a quick glance that the Belgian was injury-riddled or just fodder for the reserves. Instead, he’s a cult hero waiting in the wings to score yet another crucial goal.