What if… Liverpool hadn’t signed Divock Origi?

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‘It’s Saturday night and I like the way you move, Divock Origi,’ chants the Kop as the loveable Belgian forward comes on the 84th minute for Roberto Firmino in a last-ditch attempt to get one up on local rivals Everton yet again.

Less than 10 minutes later, Origi had scored one of the most bizarre goals you’re likely to see and his song on the terraces was changed to a Sunday night with the addition of an expletive or two.

Funnily enough, that goal probably wasn’t his most important in a Liverpool shirt last season, but it certainly started an uncanny knack of scoring big goals.

Club legends come in all shapes and sizes, from the best players to the most likeable. For some strange reason, Origi falls into the latter. But pinpointing why Liverpool fans have such an affection for the Belgian is harder than you think.

To examine exactly why Origi is one of the more loveable Liverpool players in recent years, we’ll have to look at what life would be like without the 24-year-old.

When you’re asked what could’ve happened if Stevie didn’t slip against Chelsea, or if Fernando Torres didn’t move to Chelsea in 2011, wishful ideas of what could have been probably popping into your head.

But what would we all be doing with our time if Divock Origi hadn’t signed for the Reds back in 2014?

For starters, the Reds wouldn’t have a so-called plan B to turn to in the unlikely event that Roberto Firmino wasn’t performing at his world-class standard. If you compare the styles of play that Firmino and Origi, you’ll probably wonder why on earth the Belgian is the understudy to the Brazilian.

In a sense, though, that’s the true beauty of what Origi brings to this Liverpool team – you never quite know. Admittedly, sometimes that doesn’t work. If you’re looking for a reliable striker who can put in a shift every week and you know exactly what you’re getting, Origi probably isn’t your man. His first goal of the 2018/19 season came in December – coincidentally that goal against Everton and he only netted twice in the league after that.

But the true magic lies in the way that the Belgian can just randomly pop up with a goal out of nowhere. Or is it a disservice to say that his goal-scoring ability is just random?

Having scored a number of important goals last season, there’s a case to say that Origi has an astute awareness of when and where to be. He’s one of the least technically gifted players at the club but there’s no doubting his big-game mentality.

Some of that ability to turn up at the big matches might come from his reserved personality. If you’ve seen him in interviews or any type of media appearance, you’ll know that he’s not fazed by the bright lights and huddles of journalists. He’s is a chilled-out character and one that will always perform to his best no matter what pressure the teams is under.

You only have to look back to the crucial goals he scored last season to understand that.

In addition to his late goal against Everton, Origi popped up with an all-important brace against Barcelona in that almighty comeback against the Spanish giants. It’s the measure of his character that, when he popped in that famous Trent Alexander-Arnold corner, he just had a slight smile on his face running towards the Kop. Did it have an idea what he’d just done? No. But, then again, no one did.

If you add on top of that his clinical finish in the final against Spurs, it’s hard to imagine the Reds making it to six European titles last year without the Belgian forward.

He’s a loveable character both on and off the pitch. Whether he’s popping up with an important goal or just bounding around without a care in the world, it’s near enough impossible not to love Divock Origi.

But we’re all too aware of the fact that sentiment in football can only get you so far – just ask Manchester United or Arsenal fans about their current managers. That’s why goals against Everton, Barcelona and Spurs are crucial reasons why the 24-year-old’s name will be etched into Liverpool Football Club history.

Hindsight in football would be a wonderful thing. But what’s the point when you’ve got a player as loveable as Divock Origi? He’s not the most technically gifted and will never be one of the first names on the team sheet.

But one thing is for sure: he’s a fan favourite on the Kop and the Reds wouldn’t be where they are today without the Belgian’s brilliance.

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