Losing out on the League Cup to Manchester City last season hurt. It’s one thing to get knocked out in the quarterfinals or the semifinals, but to get that close to silverware and just miss out is uniquely painful.
Liverpool’s midweek win over Leeds United in the EFL Cup offers a chance for redemption. A win over two legs against Southampton next month will book a place in the Final against either Manchester United or Hull City. It will be Liverpool’s third opportunity for silverware under Jürgen Klopp and potentially their first trophy in five years. So while Liverpool still have much to play for this season, the League Cup run offers a vital opportunity.
Divock Origi appreciates the meaning of that opportunity. The Belgian featured in that Final loss to Manchester City last season, nearly scoring a potential gamewinner deep in extra time and slotted to take the fifth penalty (which was rendered unnecessary). Origi said that the memory of that day is driving him on this season.
“It was painful to lose in the final at Wembley but it makes you grow. I think we grew as a team after losing to City and hopefully this year, if we can reach the final again, we will use the experience of last year to go on and win it. Of course I wanted to score with that header but it is all about being ready for the next moment when a chance doesn’t go in. Hopefully next time I get a moment like that in a big game I can score and the club, the team and the fans can enjoy some success. It hurt to lose on penalties in a cup final because you are so close to winning a title. We were very close to winning that game, we played with big hearts at Wembley, but football can go both ways. To win something in England is very difficult but Liverpool with its name and its history is a beautiful club and deserves to win things. It would be priceless to do that for the team. If we put everything into it then we have a big chance of winning this title.”
Origi will potentially feature in the semifinals, with the first leg at St. Mary’s on January 11th and the return leg at Anfield on the 25th. In the meantime, he says he’s ready to step up to cover for several attacking players dealing with injury problems, including Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge. This month and next are shaping up to be pivotal in the 21-year-old’s career.