At the start of the 2018/19 season, some might have laughed at the idea of Divock Origi firing the Reds to European glory and carving out a niche at Anfield as a cult hero: these days the notion is met with a knowing smile and a nod of the head.
Now back at Melwood for pre-season training, the Belgian is gearing himself up for the 2019/20 season off the back of scoring the Reds’ last goal of the campaign to seal victory in Madrid’s final.
“It always gives you the will to win more. I saw Sir Kenny Dalglish after the game [in Madrid] and he said the first [trophy] is nice, but the second one is even more special,” the 24-year-old told the club’s official website.
“I am always excited at the beginning of a new season.”
Origi believes @ChampionsLeague final success has served to increase the squad’s desire to bring more silverware to Anfield. 🙌
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 8, 2019
“We will try to go for a second one and win as much as possible, but we need to focus game by game again, do the same as last season, try and prepare as well as possible and then in the end, hopefully we’ll have a good result,
“There is a lot of potential in this team, we have everything here. We’ve already said it.
“We’ve made steps in our development, everyone is a year older now, we have experience of winning a cup, so I think we come back stronger and with even more hunger.
“I think it’s always good to reset and just to relax. I think mentally we needed it because it was a long season, a good season. We’re recharged now and happy to be back.
“I am excited – I am always excited at the beginning of a new season. We came [back] with a lot of energy.
The boys have already been working, I came back a couple of days after, so it’s good to join them again.”
— Ben Webb (@BenWebbLFC) July 7, 2019
It’s clear that the Belgian is eager to get the upcoming season underway and build on what has been a hugely successful team achievement, as well as an individual renaissance for him. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that Origi is relatively young in footballing terms.
Breaking onto the scene at the 2014 World Cup at the tender age of nineteen, the Belgian still has a lot of development to undergo – a promising idea for Jürgen Klopp.
When he netted against Russia in a 1-0 win five years ago, at the time, he was the first teenager to score at the World Cup since Lionel Messi against Serbia and Montenegro back in 2006.
After joining the Reds properly once the Lille agreement was done, Origi played out a 10-goal debut season (which, ironically, featured a goal in both Borussia Dortmund games in the Europa League turnaround), which was followed by 11 goals in the 2016/17 for the club.
Following that, a relatively uninspiring loan spell at Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga made his rise to folkloric status at Anfield all the more incredible.
Making impressive use of the few minutes afforded to him earlier in the campaign, Origi was the memorable scorer of late-winners in the Merseyside Derby, at Newcastle, an incomprehensibly good brace against Barcelona, and, of course, the goal which sealed the deal in the final against Tottenham Hotspur.
With Daniel Sturridge leaving the club this summer, Origi could see a few more minutes come his way, timely opportunities which he seems ravenous to capitalise on.