Divock Origi joins AC Milan and leaves Liverpool a cult hero

Photo Credit: AP

Divock Origi has moved on from his days at Anfield having secured a free transfer this summer. His time at Liverpool comes to an end as he has put pen to paper with the reigning Serie A champions AC Milan. But in the Liverpool shirt, the Belgium striker became a cult hero. He endeared himself with Liverpool fans thanks to his knack of producing big goals on the biggest of occasions.

But just what made the Belgian such a favourite with the Kop?

Time at Anfield ends

Divock Origi spent eight years at Liverpool. It was a long relationship, and that, in the modern game, is surprising. Even more so because Origi was barely anything more than a squad player. He first transferred to the Reds in 2014 from French Ligue 1 outfit Lille. The Premier League club paid around £10 million for the forward to get him on the books.

Origi wasn’t at any time given a particularly big run of games for the Reds following his move. The biggest season that he had in the Premier League during his eight years with them, was 34 appearances in the 2016/17 campaign. But nonetheless, he enjoyed some big moments with Liverpool. Along the way Divock Origi collected an enviable amount of silverware too.

The highs and lows of life at Anfield

After signing for Liverpool, Origi was immediately sent back to Lille on loan. At the close of the 2014/15 season, Origi had been named in Ligue 1’s Worst Team of the Season by French publication L’Equipe.

In 33 league appearances during that French top-flight campaign, Origi netted eight goals. His numbers at Lille during his early playing days in France just weren’t great at all. He scored one goal in ten appearances in his first season with them. It was just five goals in thirty league appearances in the 2013/14 Ligue 1 campaign.

But his time at Lille was done at the end of that 2014/15 season and he went back to Anfield. Origi made his Premier League debut during the 2015/16 season and scored 5 goals in 16 appearances. He was given more playing time the following season with seven goals netted from 34 appearances in the English top flight.

But his reward for that was being sent out on loan the following season to Bundesliga club Wolfsburg. He wasn’t being used much by Liverpool, and Origi himself had naturally wanted more playing time. During his season in the Bundesliga, Origi netted 6 goals in 31 appearances for the German side, before heading back to Anfield once again.

Spending the following four Premier League campaigns with largely limited playing time back at Liverpool, he has now moved on. Origi ran his contract out with the Reds, so was able to move on a free transfer.

Silverware stacks up

Despite not being a regular starter, Divock Origi is a highly decorated player. There was a lot of silverware that came his way during his tenure with the Merseyside club. The biggest of those was the UFA Champions League title in 2019 and then a Premier League winner’s medal the following year.

Origi’s silverware haul with Liverpool

  • Premier League (2019/20)
  • FA Cup (2022)
  • Carabao Cup (2022)
  • Champions League (2019)
  • UEFA Super Cup (2019)
  • FIFA Club World Cup (2019)

That is a huge haul of awards for Origi during his eight years signed on with Liverpool. In total, he only racked up 175 appearances for the Reds across all competitions. His goal return from that was 41. In the Premier League alone, he averaged a league goal every 160 minutes.

2018 Goal drought end sparks the start

Following the end of his loan at Wolfsburg, it was the 2018/19 season back with Liverpool that set Origi on the road to the cult status that he holds with the Kop.

The early form of the 2018/19 Premier League by Divock Origi wasn’t great. At all. He still wasn’t getting into the starting line-up. December had rolled around without him having netted a single Premier League goal. But then his goal-drought ended dramatically.

In the Merseyside derby of December 2018, Origi had been sent into action from the subs bench with only four minutes left on the clock. The score at the time was 0-0 with Liverpool doing all the pressing.

The goal for the Belgian came after a comedy of errors. Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, who had pushed up-field, skied a horrible volley high into the air. It should have been bread and butter for Everton keeper Jordan Pickford to tap over the bar to safety.

But Pickford fumbled it, leaving an attentive Origi to simply nod the ball into the back of the net from inside the six-yard box to give Liverpool a 1-0 win.

Origi’s famous winner in Premier League title chase

Later in the season, Origi came up big for Liverpool again in the Premier League. In May, the Reds were locking horns with Man City in the title race. In their penultimate game of the season, Liverpool made a trip to Newcastle.

With less than five minutes on the clock, the scoreline was at 2-2, Liverpool at the time conceding the title race to City. But Origi, just four minutes from time, gave Liverpool a headed winner. That sent the title race to the final round of action. Liverpool ultimately came up short by a single point in the title race, but it was another huge goal for Origi.

Divock Origi vs Barcelona

While Liverpool couldn’t land the Premier League title in the 2018/19 season, big things were coming for them on the European front. In the first leg of their semi-final tie with Barcelona in the Champions League, Liverpool had been hammered 3-0.

They departed the Camp Nou deflated and looking well-beaten by the Catalans. But there were fireworks to come back at Anfield in the second leg. A stunning comeback from Liverpool was both started and completed by Origi.

The Reds knew that they needed an early breakthrough to get back in the tie. On his Champions League debut, Divock Origi tapped in a rebound following a save from an initial shot by Jordan Henderson. That was in the 7th minute. Georginio Wijnaldum then came up with two two goals in two second-half minutes to leave the tie level at 3-3.

With just 12 minutes to go, Trent Alexander-Arnold took a quick Liveprool corner from the right. It caught the Barcelona defence napping. Origi took the cross first time with his right foot, looping it into the top corner of the net to make it 4-0 to Liverpool on the night.

Origi settles the Champions League Final

The stunning comeback win over Barcelona put Liverpool through to the Champions League Final. In it, they met fellow Premier League side Tottenham. The Reds had been favourites for the match and they struck early. Mo Salah put them ahead from the penalty spot with only a couple of minutes played.

From there, Liverpool just smartly managed the game. For large parts of the fixture, they looked extremely comfortable against Tottenham. It was a very low-key affair because of that early goal. Despite a bright patch in the second half, Spurs couldn’t really make inroads into the defensive setup of the Reds.

In the 87th minute of the tie, which was played in Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano, Origi struck the decisive blow. The ball fell nicely to him inside Tottenham’s sixteen-yard box and he rifled in a low finish with his left foot. It was a sharp strike that landed Liverpool their second UEFA Champions League title.

Sporadic highlights follow

Liverpool gave Divock Origi a new contract following his heroics. But the highlights of his time with Liverpool were few and far between after that. There were only six goals managed by Origi in 42 appearances for Liverpool during the 2019/20 season. One of them was a cracking scissor kick against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup to tie the match at 5-5. Liverpool won the tie in a penalty shootout.

It became increasingly difficult for Origi to get playing time with the Reds. Liverpool were firing up front with their power trio of Mo Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino. Across his final two Premier League campaigns with the Reds, Origi only appeared 35 times. His goal tally from those appearances was 7.

Divock Origi’s Premier League seasons by numbers

  • 2015/16 – P16 G5
  • 2016/17 – P23 G7
  • 2017/18 – P1 G0
  • 2018/19 – P12 G3
  • 2019/20 – P28 G4
  • 2020/21 – P9 G0
  • 2021/22 – P7 G3

AC Milan Transfer

Divock Origi now moves on to pastures new with his move to Serie A champions AC Milan. He is under contract with them until the summer of 2026. What moments of magic await him there? The key thing for Origi will be to get the playing time under his belt. He will hope that the goals will flow for him which will put him in the frame for a spot with Belgium at the 2022 World Cup.

Origi has made 32 appearances for Belgium, with just three goals scored. The first of those came on the biggest stage of all. He netted against Russia in the 2014 World Cup group stage, on what was his fifth cap for his country. His other two international goals came later in that same year. It’s been nineteen appearances since without an intentional goal.

Origi left Liverpool with some cult hero status. He still has time on his side for more match-winning heroics. He only just turned 27 years old earlier this year. His current market value is around the £10 million mark, roughly what Liverpool initially paid for him.

But as proven with his time at Liverpool, he’s not a bad player to have around, even on the bench. Will AC Milan reap the benefits of that?