John Gibbons: Origi may not be good enough, but he might never be forgotten at Anfield

Could the Big Belgian end up being the most unlikely of heroes if Liverpool go on to win the Premier League? John Gibbons has had a look.


I’ve just about recovered from Saturday night. An adrenaline fuelled Newcastle team feeding off a pumped-up St James Park gave Liverpool a much bigger challenge than those of us in Liverpool were hoping or wishing they would.

They flew into tackles, pushed forward when they could and generally gave Liverpool an almighty fright.

Salomon Rondon, in particular, played like a man possessed. Not since Didier Drogba in 2006 or that bodybuilder who played for Wimbledon has a target man bullied our centre-halves like that and then had the finishing to back it up.

In playing for his future, he nearly destroyed our season. Nearly, but not quite…

Score all your Football punts on

Sunday night’s win wasn’t without casualties. We lost Firmino before the game and Mo Salah during it, leaving us looking a little tired and toothless heading into the latter stages of the game. Just like in the Champions League Final in Kiev, the Salah injury seemed to deflate his teammates.

Make them believe a little less. Sadio Mané was pushed up front, but he needed another Sadio Mané to feed him. Daniel Sturridge looked out on his feet.

But, then Divock Origi arrived. Rising higher than everyone, not for the first time at a critical time this season, to nod home. Shaqiri supplies the ball and Origi finds the net – both substitutes.

Maybe this Liverpool squad has more strength in depth than we all gave it credit?

If The Reds do go on to win the league title (and it remains a big if) then it will seem very strange indeed that two of the biggest moments of the season were supplied by the big Belgian, who was loaned out last season with little success, and probably would have been sold in the summer had a decent offer been made.

There were times earlier in the season that he couldn’t even get in the match-day squad. There has clearly always been a player there. Jurgen Klopp frequently used him in his first season, and he scored big goals in Liverpool’s run to the Europa League final.

But a mixture of injuries, the team evolving past him, and perhaps him not developing as well as the coaches would like, saw him move down the pecking order.

A season at Lille was designed to give him confidence, minutes and goals, but instead saw him return with lower rather than higher expectations for the potential of a sustained Liverpool career.

Pre-season promised little either, with others shining much brighter.

However, sometimes a glorious season throws up unlikely heroes. Should we win the league those six points that Origi won in unlikely circumstances will be huge, and never forgotten.

It might not get him a Liverpool career past the summer. But, he’ll never have to buy a pint in the city again.

Of course, there might be one more chapter to be told. Barcelona. Tuesday night. Firmino out and Salah doubtful.

He couldn’t, could he? You never know. It’s been that sort of season.

Find the latest football odds over at