You mean you could’ve taken your hand out of that cuff at any time?
No, not at any time, only when it was funny.
On Thursday night, Liverpool losing to Burnley was the least of my concerns. I was nursing a migraine that night, having taken medication just a few hours before the match. The meds helped alleviate the pain and light/sound sensitivity, but had left me rather spaced out and loopy.
Despite, or perhaps because of the meds, I had a moment of clarity. Inspiration. A Grand Unified Theory of the enigma that is Divock Origi. When Divock Origi clattered a potential match-winning strike off the woodwork on Thursday night, everything became clear.
Divock Origi isn’t a vampire. His prowess as a striker does not become more refined as night falls. No, thinking in terms of mere goals and assists—regardless of how memorable those goals are—is rather missing the point. Oh? You thought you were watching a football match? No. When Origi is on the pitch, you’re watching a performance art piece of the highest comedic quality. He’s in it for the laughs. The lolz. Whatever will be the funniest outcome in a given moment.
In short: he’s Roger Rabbit.
Don’t believe me? Let’s go back to the incident on Thursday night. Ben Mee absolutely gifted the Belgian striker a golden opportunity. One that, given our recent form, we desperately needed and needed to take advantage of. Origi had plenty of time, plenty of space, and a streaking Sadio Mané coming in to support the attack. Were Origi a serious footballer, his best options would have been as follows:
- Drive into the box, getting the keeper to commit, and then playing in Sadio for a tap in.
- Drive into the box, getting the keeper to commit, beat the keeper with an easy, low, well-placed finish.
- Drive into the box, getting the keeper to commit, and then beat him on the dribble.
All of these would have had a high likelihood of scoring. Instead, Origi tries to pick out the top corner with a powerful shot from outside of the box. The likeliest outcomes for this choice?
- His shot ends up in Row Z.
- He scores.
- He hits the crossbar.
Of those three outcomes, hitting the crossbar is the least likely. It is also far and away the funniest. That the rebound came directly to the Burnley keeper makes the whole incident even funnier. That it ended up being our best chance, and would have at the very least kept our home unbeaten streak alive? Hilarious. True performance art.
Now let’s think back to some of his other most famous moments in Red.
- Everton, 90+6: Origi had basically been exiled from the first team ever since being injured against Everton in 2015/16. He came on and immediately missed an effort at the back post. It was fine. It wasn’t time yet. It wasn’t funny enough for him to score right then. We all know what happened next. The funniest thing to ever happen on a football pitch, ever. Van Dijk’s hilariously bad volley. Pickford’s all around flappiness. And Origi nodding it home for the last-gasp match winner. Chef’s kiss.
- Barcelona, Second Leg: Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino out with injury? Down 3-0 on aggregate to Barcelona? No worries. Origi started and completed the comeback, which is a hilarious thing to even type. Everyone rightly lauds Trent Alexander-Arnold’s quick thinking on the corner. But Origi only scored in that moment because it was the funniest possible thing that could’ve happened. Luis Suarez appealing to the ref for something only added to the comedic brilliance of the moment.
- Tottenham, Champions League Final: Origi might have had the worst half-an-hour in Champions League Final history. Seriously, go back and watch it. He could barely complete a pass, let alone seriously trouble Spurs in front of goal. And yet. When Joel Matip—a masterful comedic performance artist in his own right—slid the ball to Divock in the waning moments of the final, it was only ever going to end up in the back of the net. In one hilarious moment, he made sure that his name would never be forgotten in the minds of Liverpool fans everywhere.
He couldn’t score a gifted opportunity against lowly Burnley in a match that would’ve ended 1-0 or 1-1. It wouldn’t have been memorable. It certainly wouldn’t have been funny.
Now, scoring the match winner against United in the FA Cup, after Liverpool’s fan base has collectively lost their minds? THAT would be funny. Somehow, I wouldn’t put it past him.