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Flashback: It took time, but Liverpool’s Divock Origi has fulfilled former team-mate’s grandiose claim

In our latest instalment of the Flashback series, we take a look back at a certain moment and look at how things might have changed those initial reactions.

In the summer of 2014, Liverpool sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona after the Uruguay striker enjoyed a sensational season at Anfield, scoring 31 Premier League goals as they fell just short of claiming the title.

He left the club amid huge controversy after biting Giorgio Chiellini in that year’s World Cup, with the Reds replacing him with a striker who had far better memories of the tournament in Brazil.

Divock Origi, who was then only 19, scored a late winner for Belgium against Russia a few weeks before signing for Liverpool in a £10m deal, as reported by BBC.

The Reds would have to wait to reap the benefits of his talents, though, with the club instantly loaning him back to Lille for the 2014/15 season, as per BBC.

While Liverpool’s other forward additions that summer struggled badly (Mario Balotelli scored just four goals in the 2014/15 campaign, with Rickie Lambert getting three), Origi was faring notably better in Ligue 1, netting eight times in 33 league games for Lille.

Simon Kjaer, a team-mate of his in France, had no doubts about the extent of the Belgian’s ability. He told The Mirror: “He could be a truly great player for Liverpool. He has got great potential and could become one of the best players in his position.”

Origi returned to Anfield for the 2015/16 season but found it difficult to establish himself in the side, making just seven Premier League starts that term. A return of 10 goals from 33 games in all competitions hinted at his potential, though, and it matched the tally of £32.5m flop Christian Benteke, with his fellow countryman making nine more appearances than Origi.

He went one goal better the following season but again was left largely reliant on substitute appearances, coming off the bench 20 times during the 2016/17 Premier League campaign.

A further loan spell followed, with a poor return of seven goals in 36 games for Wolfsburg in 2017/18, and with the Liverpool front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane scoring a mammoth 91 goals between them that season, his prospects at Anfield appeared bleak.

Origi was heavily criticised by Wolfsburg’s sporting director following an ineffective performance in May 2018, which led his father to speak out in his defence afterwards, as reported by Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung [via ESPN].

The Belgian was back at Liverpool again in summer 2018, having failed to establish himself at Anfield four years after first coming to the club.

When he was thrown into the fray in the 84th minute of last season’s Merseyside derby at Anfield with the score at 0-0, it seemed a desperate roll of the dice from Jurgen Klopp.

Twelve minutes later, he reacted quickest after Jordan Pickford batted the ball in his direction, his header consigning Everton to defeat in dramatic circumstances. [via premierleague.com]

It would not be Origi’s only memorable late goal of 2018/19. With the Reds drawing 2-2 at Newcastle in the title run-in and badly needing a win to keep pressure on Manchester City, he popped up with an 86th-minute header to take the title race to the final day. [via BBC]

Three days later, he scored the decisive goal in Liverpool’s enthralling 4-0 Champions League semi-final win over Barcelona after trailing 0-3 from the first leg and, in a tense final in Madrid, his 87th-minute goal killed off Tottenham’s challenge and sealed the Reds’ sixth European Cup.

Origi’s knack for crucial late goals was evident again recently when he volleyed a stoppage time equaliser in the pulsating Carabao Cup clash against Arsenal to take the game to a penalty shoot-out that Liverpool won. [via Sky Sports]

The 24-year-old has had to be very patient in waiting to make his mark at Anfield, and while it may seem hard to legitimately claim that someone who has started only 28 Premier League games for the club is “a truly great player for Liverpool”, Kjaer’s 2014 comments don’t appear all that ridiculous when you consider the importance of many of Origi’s goals for the Reds.

Liverpool fans, how have you rated Origi in his time at the club? Did you feel that he was on his way out of Anfield in 2018 after his failed loan at Wolfsburg? Comment below with your views!

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Flashback: It took time, but Liverpool’s Divock Origi has fulfilled former team-mate’s grandiose claim
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