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Divock Origi embracing super-sub role at Liverpool

Cometh the hour, cometh the Divock. The Belgian forward once came up trumps for Liverpool on Saturday. In the fourth minute of stoppage time at Molineux, he controlled Mohamed Salah’s pass and fired the ball past Jose Sa in the Wolverhampton Wanderers goal. Not for the first time in his Liverpool career, Divock Origi produced the goods when Liverpool needed him most.

Come the end of the season, Liverpool may look back on this slender success in the Black Country as one of their most significant results of the campaign.

The match was locked in stalemate for more than 90 minutes. A 0-0 draw would have been a disappointing result. Chelsea had lost 3-2 to West Ham United a few hours earlier, but it looked as though Liverpool were not going to take advantage of that slip-up. Then, just when it seemed that time was up for Liverpool, Divock Origi did what he does best.

This dramatic strike was his 10th as a substitute in the Premier League. No player has scored more goals for Liverpool off the bench in the competition. Origi’s effort at Wolves will be remembered alongside his other vital late contributions, including a headed winner against Everton in 2018 and a brace in Liverpool’s sensational comeback victory over Barcelona a few months later.

Origi is a manager’s dream. Opportunities are hard to come by at Anfield. Whereas there were previously three players ahead of him in the pecking order, Diogo Jota has made it four. Origi is yet to start a Premier League this term. His three substitute appearances have yielded just 38 minutes of action.

Yet he never complains. Dicock Origi has not merely accepted his status as a squad player at Liverpool; he has embraced it. The forward seems content to be a back-up to the likes of Salah, Jota, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino if it gives him the chance to win trophies at one of the biggest clubs in the world.

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His ability to play anywhere across the frontline makes him a valuable deputy. Klopp has deployed Origi on the left, on the right and through the middle. On Saturday he replaced Jordan Henderson as Klopp opted to throw on an extra attacker. That bold move paid dividends, with Origi finding the net in what was his 100th appearance as a substitute for Liverpool.

The Belgium international has now scored 39 goals in 166 outings for the Reds. That looks like a modest record. But Origi has only started 66 games in that time. That means he is averaging a goal every 175 minutes – an excellent return for a player who tends to be thrown on towards the end of games.

“Divock Origi, the legend, finished it off and it’s a great story,” Klopp told Sky Sports after the win against Wolves, which moved Liverpool up to third in the table.

“He is an incredible striker. For different reasons he has not played that often but I hope one day he finds a manager that plays him more than I do.

“He is one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen in my life. In this great team, with our [front] three, he doesn’t play all the time but he is a very positive boy, loves the club, wants to contribute, and he did in an incredible way.”

Origi is out of contract next summer. Liverpool will probably offer him a new deal, but the Belgian is likely to depart. He will be 27 by the end of the season, and it would only be natural if he decided he needs to be playing more regular football. After his various heroics over the years, no Liverpool fan would begrudge Divock Origi that.

 


 

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