MADRID (Reuters) - Liverpool’s unlikely hero Divock Origi is starting to make a habit of turning up trumps.
The Belgium striker is not one of Liverpool’s most feted attacking players but he is proving to be a decisive figure, sealing his team’s sixth European Cup triumph with the second goal in a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday’s final.
Origi finished clinically in the 87th minute to seal Liverpool’s success at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, killing off Mauricio Pochettino’s side’s hopes of forcing extra-time and lifting the trophy for the first time.
Having starred in Liverpool’s remarkable semi-final, second leg comeback against Barcelona with a brace, Origi put the finishing touch on the victory against Spurs at the Wanda Metropolitano in the sweltering Spanish capital.
“It’s unbelievable. Winning a Champions League is so hard,” said Origi. “Today we’re here, we pulled together with the team and supporters and we have to celebrate all together. I think we just did it as a team, we made a positive step forward.
“We have a good mix of talent and experienced players and today was just about enjoying it and we did.”
Signed by Liverpool in 2014 from Lille for 10 million pounds ($12.64 million), and immediately loaned back to the French side for a season, he was sent to Wolfsburg last term after two years struggling to make an impact at Anfield.
The forward helped the German side battle relegation from the Bundesliga and was nearly sent out again in the summer, but ended up staying at Anfield as a squad player for this campaign.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are Liverpool’s star trio of forwards and their goals powered Juergen Klopp’s side in a fascinating Premier League title tussle against eventual champions Manchester City, but on the rare occasions he was called upon Origi made an impact.
The forward was brought on with six minutes left against Everton in a derby which was goalless and nodded home a bizarre 96th minute winner after keeper Jordan Pickford’s mistake.
Starting just four Premier League matches all season, Origi kept the title race going until the final day as he netted again as a substitute, grabbing the winner in a dramatic 3-2 triumph over Newcastle United in the penultimate match.
Three days later, with Firmino injured, Origi sent Liverpool into the Champions League final with a double against Barca.
He slotted home from close range and then fired home from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s clever corner routine, helping the Reds to a 4-0 win at Anfield and overturning the 3-0 first-leg defeat at the Nou Camp on one of the club’s greatest European nights.
Brazil striker Firmino was deemed fit enough to return for the final against Tottenham but struggled to make an impact and was replaced by Origi after 58 minutes.
Keen to make his mark, Origi brought energy to a game which lacked it and fired home from an acute angle to seal victory.
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Editing by Ken Ferris