Origi gets another key goal to ensure Liverpool wins CL
MADRID (AP) — When Liverpool was struggling to protect its lead in Saturday’s Champions League final, coach Juergen Klopp’s turned to Divock Origi to get the decisive goal.
The 24-year-old Belgian forward came through with an 87th-minute strike to quash a last-gasp rally by Tottenham and clinch a 2-0 win that earned the Reds their sixth European Cup.
Origi had already proven critical to Liverpool even reaching the final.
With Mohamed Salah out with a concussion, he had scored twice in a remarkable 4-0 victory over Lionel Messi’s Barcelona to help Liverpool overhaul a 3-0 first-leg disadvantage in the semifinals.
So when striker Roberto Firmino was largely ineffective in attack against Tottenham, Klopp called Origi off his bench as his first substitute in the 58th minute.
Tottenham had been unable to muster a shot on goal during a first half that started with Salah giving Liverpool the lead in the second minute from the penalty spot.
But Mauricio Pochettino’s side improved after Lucas Moura joined the attack, and Liverpool started to feel the pressure of being so close to the title.
That was when Origi showed the poise Liverpool’s other attacking players had mostly lacked when the ball fell to him unmarked on the left side of the box.
With a coolly-placed left-footed strike beyond the reach of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, Origi sparked the celebrations among the red-clad end of the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
It was quite a turnaround for Origi, who has gone from afterthought to hero this season. Last year he was loaned out to German side Wolfsburg and was reportedly close to being sold last summer.