If life is a stage and sports are a performance on that stage, then certain moments in those performances require moments of brilliance from lesser known actors that rise to the occasion. These clutch moments are what make sports worth investing in, as they are important strokes on the rich canvas of sports. Divock Origi has been one of Liverpool’s best actors in those moments, as his performances have helped pave Liverpool’s rise. 


Clutch moments are what fill fans’ brains, not many will remember their team’s top midfielder getting a record breaking assist, but they will remember the goal that gets them to the final. For Divock Origi, performing in crunch time has been what his career has been made of.  

Origi has been one of Liverpool’s stalwarts, joining the club in 2014 and spending just a few seasons on loan across his 8 years at the club. From his first Premier League goal, Origi has saved Liverpool in spectacular ways since 2014, playing a role in the club’s rise to the top. While he has never scored more than 8 league goals, Origi’s place in Liverpool lore will forever remain with fans.

Fans all over the world will remember Origi’s goal off a quick Trent Alexander-Arnold corner against Barcelona to send Liverpool to the Champions League final. Clutch performances after another has left many to wonder where Origi places in terms of the most clutch players in the sport. For “role players” like Origi carving a niche role in the clutch makes him a truly special player.

Photo: SIPA USA

From his first goal in the Prem to another goal against Everton this past weekend, Origi’s  performances have been the stuff of legend for Liverpool as the club has conquered Europe. His memorable moments have left many wondering if he’s the best clutch player currently playing. 


When Liverpool signed Origi in 2014, many hoped that the young Belgian striker would follow the path of fellow Prem Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. While he never lived up to those expectations, Origi has still played a role in Liverpool’s success over those past 8 years.

After going out on loan to Lille for the 2014-15 season, Origi came back to liverpool as a fourth choice striker behind Benteke, Firmino and Sturridge. In late December of 2015, Origi would score his first Prem goal, a last minute equalizer from far out of the box, helping stave off a losing streak for the team. Liverpool would reach the Europa League final, but ultimately lose to Sevilla.   

The 2016-17 season would see Origi continue to be a rotational player, as he saw Liverpool qualify for the Champions League for the first time under Klopp. In order to help him develop, the club allowed him to leave on loan to Wolfsburg for the 2017-18 where he would fail to secure a permanent deal. 

It was the 2018-19 that would etch Origi into the memories of Liverpool fans forever, with him scoring the winner against both Newcastle and Everton in the Prem. Facing a three goal deficit in the UCL semis, Liverpool desperately needed a performance from their forward in the return leg. Seven minutes into the game, Origi would open up the scoring for Liverpool with a tap in. 

Photo: Liverpool

A little over ten minutes left and Liverpool had tied the series up, looking the more dangerous side having just won a corner. Seeing a sliver of a chance as Barca was setting up for it, Alexander-Arnold sent in a low cross to an open Origi who would lash the ball into the back of the net. In the final, Origi would score another goal against Tottenham, giving Liverpool another Champions League title. 

Since that magical season, he has continued to perform well  for Liverpool, scoring 11 more goals as the club aims to win more. Origi’s time at Liverpool has seen him and the club win the Champions League, EFL Cup and Prem, as the club has gone through its most successful period since the creation of the Prem. 


Clutchness, if that’s even a word,  is not well studied in soccer as it is harder to gauge, as there aren’t a lot of quantifiable stats that measure it unlike in basketball for example. That being said, Origi should still be regarded as one of the players who best performs in necessary moments. 

In basketball for example, it’s easier to measure clutch performances,  a player  stepping up in the last five minutes of a game when the score is close is easier to track. Soccer doesn’t have that really, as there isn’t a real way to quantify performing in important minutes besides just understanding the context of a moment. This means that there is no one right way to measure the clutch factor of a player other than just looking at the performance and its context.

Of course the greats of this team, Ronaldo and Messi, always like to show up in clutch moments and have countless amounts of performances where they will their teams to victory. The greats are always impressive in these moments, but that’s to be expected and it’s more impressive in a way when “role players” perform like this. 

Again it’s difficult to track down players like that who always seem to step up when needed but aren’t stars. Two that really come to mind are Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata seem to be two of the better examples. Role players who seem to fluctuate from starter to first player off the bench, but always step up for their team in necessary moments.

Giroud surprisingly became both an Arsenal and France legend, as the slow and tall striker has won more trophies than anyone could have expected when he started his career in Grenoble. Giroud’s trophy cabinet is envious, a World Cup, Champions league and plenty of FA Cups. Despite never being a prolific scorer, Giroud always seems to end up scoring when it matters the most.

Photo: Pedro Salado/Getty

Morata is definitely a meme player, mostly due to his failure at Chelsea, but for both Real Madrid and Juventus,  he was a player who could be counted on in the Champions League. Over the course of his career, Morata has scored 22 goals in the UCL from the group stage to final, winning two UCL titles. Much like Origi, Morata’s performances with Juventus in the 14-15 season will forever stay with Juve fans, as he helped bring Juve to the UCL final and scored in the final despite losing it.

When compared to those two, Origi seems to fit in well and should be seen as a worthy challenger for the title of best clutch performer. Is he the best currently? It would be unfair to both Morata and Giroud to give  him that title right now, but Origi seems likely to win more at the club level than them.

Origi’s magic has given Liverpool fans some incredible memories,  as they have seen the club go  from a joke in the last Steven Gerrard years back to an elite club competing for the UCL. His clutch performances leave  him in the company of few people, as he continues to prove to be a top performer. With Liverpool challenging for both the UCL and the Prem title, Origi will get his chances to add to his growing legend.

 

Featured Image: Rich Linley/Getty

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