As Divock Origi trudged onto the Camp Nou surface in the 85th minute, an air of resignation swept across the away end. Not three minutes earlier, Lionel Messi had struck the sublimest of free kicks, adding a third unanswered goal to Barcelona’s tally on the night.
Liverpool are famed for their European comebacks. Gerrard’s half-volley against Olympiakos; Lovern’s header at the death versus Dortmund; and, of course, Dudek’s heroics in Istanbul. So when The Reds stunned Barcelona in the second-leg at Anfield, it was nothing new. What did surprise, was Origi taking centre stage.
The striker has spent the vast majority of his time on Merseyside as a bit-part player, showing glimpses of his talent but never truly realising it. After scoring a brace to help take Liverpool through, however, it seemed things were starting to click.
The Melee of Metropolitano
Fast forward to Madrid and the mood was vastly different. The air of resignation felt during Liverpool’s last venture on Spanish soil had dissolved, engulfed by the smog of lit red flares billowing in the wind. This was an air of anticipation. It was The Reds, going after number six.
Much like Liverpool and Spurs’ routes to the 2019 Champions League final, the game started in typically unpredictable fashion. Less than two minutes on the clock and referee Damir Skomina had pointed to the spot. Liverpool had the lead; their Egyptian king slotting home cooly.
Given Liverpool’s defensive prowess, it was a lead they were confident in keeping. Waves of Spurs attacks crashed against The Reds’ backline but they held firm, masterfully navigating each onslaught with consummate ease.
As the game neared its conclusion, Origi arrived in the box. Tottenham’s failure to clear the resulting corner led to a melee of limbs. 50/50 contests involving both van Dijk and Matip culminated in the ball finding its way into the path of the Belgian. Could this be his moment?
"Winning the Champions League is a boy’s dream, it changes a lot in a player’s career."
Showing all the composure of a seasoned vertran, Origi dug the ball out from under his feet and rifled a left-footed shot past the helpless Lloris. A sea of Red erupted.
“Winning the Champions League is a boy’s dream” Origi beamed to The Telegraph after the full-time whistle sounded, “it changes a lot in a player’s career. After my career I will be able to enjoy it to its fullest.”
Fans flocked to the Dolmen de Dalí in celebration the next day. Led by local musician and renowned Kopite, Jamie Webster, they chanted Origi’s name. From Belgian benchwarmer to Liverpool legend, Origi had cemented himself in the pantheon of Anfield greats.
The winds of change were in motion once again. From an air of resignation, to one of anticipation, to now invincibility. Liverpool had conquered Europe for a sixth time. Allez.