Why Origi will forever be a moments player
Liverpool’s 2-2 draw away to Shrewsbury Town was a tough watch, simple as that.
We’ll allow it, in a season that has produced such an unrivalled level of brilliance.
At 2-0, Liverpool appeared to be cruising into the fifth round of the FA Cup, but there was little to actually enjoy about the performance, barring Adrian’s continued expertise as Alisson’s deputy.
Then the Reds fell to pieces, defending like it was 2015 and gifting their League One opponents a way back into the tie, subsequently leading to days’ worth of controversy about Jurgen Klopp’s involvement in the competition.
There were a number culprits on show at New Meadow.
The established trio of Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Fabinho threw in three inept showings, and while rustiness definitely has to be taken into account, it shouldn’t absolve all blame for wayward passing and shocking decision-making.
Takumi Minamino struggled badly to get into the game, Yasser Larouci looked defensively weak and Harvey Elliott looked every bit a 16-year-old playing against a group of men.
There is no need for an overreaction, considering the number of changes Klopp made and the fact that every team experiences an off day, but it doesn’t mean the negatives should be ignored.
Despite all those players mentioned failing to reach top gear, perhaps the most disappointing performer on the day was Divock Origi.
Starting out on the left-hand side, Liverpool’s cult hero was hugely ineffective throughout, barring a couple of hopeful shots from distance.
Touches were heavy, dribbles were clumsy and his work-rate was questionable – one jog back in the second half, when a sprint was required, will not have impressed Klopp – on another afternoon that summed up what an odd footballer Origi is.
In fact, he is one of the oddest to have represented Liverpool in years, when you consider his Jekyll-and-Hyde tendencies, depending on whether or not he is used as a substitute.
The Origi that we see starting matches is so contrasting to the one that makes such a big impact from the bench that you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching twins.
Whatever happens between now and the end of the 24-year-old’s career, he will forever go down as a Liverpool legend, considering the impact he has made in the past 14 months.
It all started with that goal against Everton, then there was the late winner away to Newcastle, the unforgettable double at home to Barcelona and then, of course, the Champions League-clinching strike in Madrid.
Origi has carried on this vein in 2019/20, albeit in a less devastating way, scoring a beautifully-taken double against Everton and a last-gasp equaliser in the 5-5 League Cup epic at home to Arsenal.
These haven’t all come as a substitute, of course, but there is no denying that he is far more effective when legs are tiring compared to when he starts proceedings.
This is because Origi isn’t a polished footballer who delivers consistency throughout matches – he is a moments player with an ability to shine sporadically instead.
He is a band who have five great singles a decade, but release the same number of instantly forgettable albums at the same time.
He is an actor with a largely poor back catalogue, only to star in a great film from nowhere. Let’s call him the footballing Adam Sandler.
Origi will always be like this, even though as he approaches 25, he is likely to mature as an all-round player.
He will forever leave you tearing your hair out and wondering if he really would stand out for your local seven-a-side team, before scoring a goal so big and memorable that you forgive everything that came before it.
You wait, it’s bound to be Origi who scores the goal that officially wins Liverpool their first league title since 1990, isn’t it?
Let’s not forget that he won the penalty at West Ham on Wednesday – a game in which he started, in fairness – setting the Reds on their way to a 2-0 win.
Liverpool’s No.27 is not alone in being such an enigmatic presence at Anfield, however, joining all illustrious group of players capable of being both infuriating and heroic in equal measure.
Luis Garcia immediately springs to mind.
While we can now look back and appreciate what he did, as well as marvel at those incredible Halloween social media posts, he was terrible when he wanted to be.
Watch back those games against the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea and his performances were not good, but he came up with magic at key moments.
Who else has completely forgotten about how appalling Origi was in the Champions League final, prior to that inch-perfect late finish past Hugo Lloris?
He barely did a thing right, but nobody cared come the final whistle.
Jerzy Dudek is a Liverpool hero after his Istanbul brilliance, but he wasn’t a great goalkeeper and some errors against United down the years were catastrophic.
Vladimir Smicer now always has Istanbul to look back on, but he was enraging to watch when he wanted to be, while Dirk Kuyt could be woeful, only to pop up with one of his big goals.
While this all may sound like a negative stance being taken on Origi, I certainly wouldn’t consider moving him on at any point soon.
He is simply too priceless when it comes to delivering those moments, much like David Fairclough so famously was back in the 1970s.
We must accept that Origi will continue to provide us with goals that go down in history, as well as performances so shoddy that David N’Gog looks world-class in comparison.