Updated: Feb 6, 2019
Of the 31 players currently playing for Liverpool FC's senior side, Divock Origi is not one that necessarily stands out. The 23-year-old was originally signed by the Merseyside giant back in 2014, and while he's one of the longest-tenured players on the squad, he has rarely had any moments to shine.
While certainly a talented forward, the Ostend, Belgium native has largely been relegated to playing a bit part like many players initially brought in by former team manager Brendan Rodgers. He's watched as guys like Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Xherdan Shaqiri have all become significant cogs inside current manager Jurgen Klopp's grand scheme.
With that all being said, number 27 is not completely anonymous or forgotten because he is really good at one particular thing. Divock Origi is really good at scoring against Everton.
Now for all of you not in the know, Everton FC is Liverpool's crosstown rival. The two clubs have both been cornerstones in English soccer for decades, having combined for 27 first division league titles and 12 FA Cups. And while Liverpool is certainly more well-known on the international stage, Everton has a phenomenal fan base as well.
Every Premier League season, Liverpool and Everton clash in two matches that are each called the Merseyside Derby. They are amongst the most important contests for each team. Since Origi started his career with LFC in 2015 after serving a year on-loan at Lille, he's scored three times against the Toffees. That mark is currently the record for all non-English players currently playing for either squad.
And while his first two goals against the Merseyside Blues were indeed great in their own right, we're not here to wax poetic on either one of those. Instead, we are here to explore his most recent, and most extraordinary.
Origi was hand-picked by Jurgen Klopp to be the Reds' third and final substitution during what was a slog of a match on December 2nd, 2018. By the time Origi had entered the game after replacing Roberto Firmino, neither side could get much done on the attacking third. In fact, Liverpool had more yellow cards (3) than shots on-target (2) going into the final few minutes.
To many, this move was simply made to get some fresh legs onto the pitch as Liverpool were just starting a difficult stretch on their schedule. Starting from that Sunday to the 16th, the Reds were set to play four tough league contests and also compete in a crucial Champions League group stage match against Napoli. And according to WhoScored.com, Origi's side was still two points below Manchester City at the top of the league at the time. So it goes without saying that without this win, it was hard to surmise how they could ever catch up with the defending champions.
On the other side, this was also a huge contest for Everton. While the Toffees had largely been relegated to be Liverpool's younger brother for years, they always cherished moments when they could spoil their crosstown rivals.
This season, new manager Marco Silva had helped lead his team to sixth in the Prem, which had them both slightly ahead of Manchester United and close to a top five finish, which would give them an opportunity to play in the Europa League during the 2019-2020 campaign.
Earlier in the season, Everton's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford told the press that he tries "not to do tricks" in what was an obvious jab toward LFC keeper Alisson Becker, who was known to play a little loose sometimes. He continued on to note that "I'm going to try not to put myself in that position to make those mistakes." Before his match, he was doing well to stick to that promise. In the 13 games preceding this derby, he'd only given up 15 goals, an impressive feat for sure.
During injury time, Liverpool received a free kick deep near the center half line. Alisson, Liverpool's goalkeeper who was having yet another excellent game up until that point, wisely tapped the ball to young right back, and team cult hero, Trent Alexander-Arnold. The 20-year-old absolutely blasted a deep ball into the mob of red and blue all standing near the goalkeeping area.
Everton defender Yerry Mina, who was picked up from Barcelona over the summer, headed the ball out of immediate danger, however, the ball found it's way to Liverpool defender and acting captain Virgil Van Dijk. The Dutchman skied the ball straight up and turned around in disgust.
As he started to run back, the thousands inside Anfield and the millions watching around the world witnessed both a brief moment of madness followed by pure nirvana. There are not enough words to describe this movement, so please, take a moment to witness it.
Following this most extraordinary goal, Liverpool would win not only this contest, but every game they played in December. Not only was that good enough to help them leapfrog Manchester City for sole possession of first place in the Premier League, but it also allowed them to reach the Round of 16 in the Champions League. Origi's goal served as a spark plug that would ignite his teammates.
Jurgen Klopp was fined eight thousand pounds for running on to the pitch, but said he had "no regrets" for what he did. His actions further proved how much the German truly is the heart and soul of LFC.
Jordan Pickford became the butt of many jokes on Twitter for several weeks. Perhaps more concerning is that he has been largely unable to get back to his world class ways. Since December 2nd, the Englishman has allowed 17 goals in 11 league contests, including six against Tottenham alone.
And while Divock Origi, the man behind the miracle, did see some more playing time following this match, including a start against Burnley just a few days later, he's largely been relegated back to either sitting on the bench as a substitution or being a reserve player.
But for many fans, that's what makes Origi's goal all the more special. It was one moment that will live forever in the hearts and minds of all LFC fans who were able to witness it first-hand.
Whether or not Origi plays out the rest of his career inside the friendly confines at Anfield, or he is shipped off to some other team in some other country, he will always be remembered as the artiste behind a legendary moment in this club's remarkable history.
Photo Credits - Twitter.com