Divock Origi has come a long way from being named as one of the worst players in Ligue 1 last season. The young Belgian striker made an enormous impression at the 2014 World Cup with Belgium at just the age of 19 in a talented squad. Players of average potential don't manage to do such things. There were unfortunate circumstances surrounding Lille in terms of tactics and atmosphere that hindered Origi's progress, but under Jürgen Klopp, he has an experienced and talented manager who can nurture young players who are prepared to work. For those who are not aware, Origi is prepared to put the requisite effort to be part of the Klopp era at Anfield.
When Origi was chosen ahead of Daniel Sturridge to lead the line against Borussia Dortmund, it wasn't that much of a surprise. Sure, Sturridge has the quality to frighten the best defensive units in Europe, but the dancing striker isn't as fit as he could be for such a challenge. Since Brendan Rodgers was relieved of his duties in October, Origi has been among a number of players to benefit from Klopp's presence. With Christian Benteke struggling to fit, Daniel Sturridge physically unreliable, and Danny Ings out for the season, Origi has enjoyed a few opportunities to show what he can do in Liverpool colours.
"We were playing a big team and, as the striker, I had a big responsibility but I felt the support of everybody from the coach to my teammates and the fans," Origi said after Liverpool's solid result in Germany. "Everyone tried to help me as much as possible and it showed in my performance. I only knew [I was starting] when I saw the teamsheet, which was today. I was happy to play in such an important game, which is what you strive for as a footballer."
Origi led the line and helped set a pressing tempo akin to the wonderfully efficient and diligent Roberto Firmino. James "Our Jimmy" Milner and Adam "The Silk" Lallana were also instrumental in leading from the front. For Liverpool's opener, Origi was mindful that he remained onside before being played through on goal. Origi's pace, movement, directness, and work ethic contrasted sharply with Sturridge's general lack of fitness and Benteke's clear unsuitability.
"We worked a lot tactically and [Klopp] knows my qualities and told me just to use them," Origi added. "Everyone said I should play to my qualities, which is getting in behind the defenders and taking them on one-on-one and of course, importantly, scoring. I’m very happy that I could do this. I saw Millie going for a header and I read his game a little bit and went deep and the ball came to me. I could feel the defender was close and usually they open their legs, so I tried to shoot it the other side and it went in."
It's to Origi's credit that he looked to thank the role of others for his good work on the night, and the 20-year-old was fully aware of his responsibility on such a grand occasion. Origi continued by channeling the spirit of Ivan Drago by declaring that there were no favourites before the game, and he has done more than enough to be called upon next Thursday to finish the Europa League favourites (sorry, Divock) off.