Everton's nemesis: Derby-day specialist Origi keeps Liverpool's quadruple dreams on track

Divock Origi Liverpool 2021-22Getty Images

Match statistics: Liverpool 2-0 Everton

It just had to be him, didn’t it?

When you need a hero on derby day, what do you do?

You send up the Bat Signal and you ask for the Big Belgian.

There was an hour on the clock at Anfield when Jurgen Klopp turned to Divock Origi, and 30 minutes later he was hugging him like he has never hugged anyone before. No wonder.

He is leaving Liverpool this summer, Origi, but he made sure he left something new for fans to remember him by.

Brought on with the 240th Merseyside derby goalless, tense and scrappy and edgy and nervous, the 27-year-old did what he always does when faced with the men from Goodison Park. He hurt them. Badly.

He had only been on the field two minutes when he combined with Mohamed Salah, allowing the Egyptian to cross for Andy Robertson to head in the most precious of goals.

Anfield bounced. All of a sudden, a locked door was opened. The Everton riddle had been solved.

Origi was not finished, mind. A derby assist is one thing, but he specialises in derby goals, and five minutes from time he got his sixth, perfectly-placed to head home himself at the Kop End after Luis Diaz, another to make a huge impact off the bench, had gone for goal with an overhead kick.

The smiles said it all, and not just Origi’s. His team-mates love him, and so do his supporters. Klopp most of all, perhaps, even if he cannot give him the football he would like to.

Liverpool had toiled without him here, sucked into a battle by an Everton side who played with the kind of needle and street skills that Atletico Madrid would have been proud of.

Manchester United may have folded like a deck of cards here a few days ago, but Frank Lampard’s side showed they at least have the fight, if not necessarily the quality, to drag themselves out of relegation trouble.

That will not be easy. “Going down,” was chanted at numerous intervals by the home fans, and as the last blast of referee Stuart Attwell’s whistle sounded, Evertonians were being informed that “this is your last trip to Anfield.”

With six games left, and with Burnley winning earlier in the day, Lampard’s side are in the bottom three and plunging towards the Championship.

They have not won away from home in the league since August, and one of their central midfielders today, Allan, completed just two passes in 73 minutes on the field.

Liverpool will not care about that. They plough on, their title dreams still alive and their quadruple hopes maintained. This was not pretty, and certainly not enjoyable for the most part, but it is another game ticked off.

Ten to go, and everything could still be theirs.

It promises to be a nervy run-in. There were certainly signs of tension here, with Everton doing well to prey on that, niggling and chipping away, wasting time and challenging the home fans, and players, to keep their patience and concentration.

Liverpool did, just, their fitness and their quality off the bench just too much.

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Diaz made a difference, Jordan Henderson too. Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold upped their games, and Robertson was indefatigable.

Yet again, though, we came away from a Merseyside derby talking about one man.

Divock Origi, Everton’s nemesis. Now, then and always.