Piano instead of console: Origis complicated way to the Liverpool hero
With his double-pack, Divock Origi became the hero of Liverpool’s epic recovery from FC Barcelona, which took his club to the Champions League final. On Sunday he fights with Liverpool in a long-distance duel with Manchester City for the Premier League title (live in the Goalzone on DAZN from 4 pm). All this just one year after the striker with VfL Wolfsburg looked forward to relegating to the Bundesliga.
It’s hard to believe, but also the VfL Wolfsburg had its connection to perhaps the most epic football match of this Champions League season. And as it should be nowadays, this was of course also pointed out in the social media. “A console-style story. In twelve months from the Bundesliga delegation to the Champions League final,” Wolfsburg twittered late on Tuesday evening.
It’s the story of Divock Origi. Almost exactly one year ago he fought with Wolfsburg at the Holstein Stadium in Kiel against relegation to a league with SV Sandhausen. Wolfsburg has been doing a bit since then, now fighting with clubs like Hoffenheim or Leverkusen for a place in the European Cup, but Origi, who shot his FC Liverpool against FC Barcelona into the most important game of worldwide club football.
It’s undoubtedly a nice story, but not one that Origi himself will play on the console – he usually has better things to do. “I like to watch documentaries, read a lot, play the piano. And: “I like learning languages and want to learn German quickly,” he said two years ago at his presentation in Wolfsburg. The VfL had just borrowed Origi and that was somewhat alarming for him.
Origi was once considered a great talent, scored a few goals as a teenager at OSC Lille and was then hired by Liverpool. In the long run, however, he did not get beyond the role of the substitute there. And then something happened to him that happened to so many once hopeful talents who weren’t completely convincing and with whom their clubs don’t have so much to do anymore: Origi was awarded in a city like Wolfsburg to an association like this for physical exercise. He was 23 years old at the time.
The city of Wolfsburg is of course the “perfect place for me”, he says, and his new employer VfL is a “wonderful club”. But neither the club nor the player fulfilled the expectations: Wolfsburg did not relegate very wonderfully, Origi scored only seven goals in 33 Bundesliga games. After all, one of them was particularly important: the 1-0 win in the first leg of the relegation against Holstein Kiel.
Wolfsburg ultimately held the class and Origi went back to Liverpool. In summer it was offered here and there, but in the end it stayed.
While his new, old club rushed from victory to victory, Origi rushed from grandstand to bench and back again. It was only on 2 December that he was substituted for the Premier League for the first time, in the 84th minute at the city derby against FC Everton. It was 0:0. In injury time Origi made the decisive 1:0 and as a reward for that he did not have to sit so much in the stands and was sometimes even substituted.
Among other things, on the last Premier League match day, when his club was once again in dire straits. It was 2-2 against Newcastle United. To stay in the title race, Liverpool needed a goal. Origi was substituted and made in the 86th minute the 3:2.
Kiel, Everton, Newcastle: When it became important and Origi got his chance, the shadow man always stepped into the light. They were the harbingers of his appearance against Barcelona.
The first leg was lost 3-0 and Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, two of the best strikers, were injured. Tragic for Liverpool, good for Origi. Coach Jürgen Klopp had few other possibilities than to order Origi into the starting eleven. He broke the spell early with his 7th-minute dusting device, and with his cunning 4-0 goal he broke all the dams late.
Origi didn’t even know exactly what had happened after Trent Alexander-Arnold had played his corner flat into the middle with fast reactions. “It was pure instinct,” he said at first and contradicted himself shortly afterwards: “It was rehearsed.” But it was certainly the second Champions-League goal of his career, shortly after the first one.
In order to justify this double pack, Origi played the whole keyboard. His family had already assured him before the kick-off that “this will be my game”. The fans have “contributed their part” with their incessant whipping. And above all, as a believing Christian you have to say: “I felt the presence of God.”
Family, fans, God, Alexander-Arnold with his cunning corner, wonder and progress. “It’s one of the best moments of my career,” Origi said. Forever, his face and jubilant tongue will be associated with this epic soccer game.
Origi no longer has many life tasks, as Klopp announced after the game: “I already told Divock: ‘Now all you have to do is make sure that you make children and they become productive as well. And before that, maybe shoot the decisive goal against the Wolverhampton Wanderers.