AC Milan legend Andrea Pirlo slammed Divock Origi for his Champions League final performance, but his “awful” showing sums up the perfect unpredictability of Liverpool’s new super-sub.
The Reds took home the big one on Saturday night, and they couldn’t have done it without Origi.
The Belgian international, who has dropped and risen again in the Liverpool pecking order several times throughout his Anfield career, scored twice in the epic semi-final comeback over Barcelona before putting the final to bed in Madrid with a fantastic low finish.
But Pirlo, who of course lined up against Liverpool in European finals in both 2005 and 2007, crucified the 24 year-old, telling Sky Sports Italia, as reported by the Mirror: “Origi was awful.
“He came on in such an important game with that attitude. If he hadn’t scored, they should’ve given him a kicking.”
While many Liverpool fans have taken exception to Pirlo’s comments, the midfield maestro is actually correct – Origi was awful until he scored.
During his half-an-hour cameo, the Belgian completed eight out of 16 passes, a horrific 50% completion rate, won no aerial duels, completed no dribbles, no key passes and was dispossessed once (Whoscored).
He was lazy, sloppy and did not do anywhere near enough to help out Mohamed Salah, who was often left isolated in the second half.
However, this is all part of what makes Origi the perfect impact substitute, especially in reference to Roberto Firmino.
The Brazilian international is known for his work rate, link-up play and awareness of space. Creativity, tireless pressing and superb vision are all things we’ve come to expect from Liverpool’s number nine.
With Origi though, it’s impossible to know what to expect, and that’s what makes him so dynamic and difficult to stifle.
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The 24 year-old has immense talent, but defenders never know when he’s going to stop waltzing about attempting worthless flicks and tricks and decide to stick one in the net. His languid style even carries through to his celebrations, with many Reds noticing he “doesn’t know” how to “celebrate properly”.
Origi makes his chances count – he scored with all three of his Champions League shots this season. He knows he need not waste time chasing down lost causes and linking up play, because he only needs one moment to make his mark on a match.
So yes Andrea, Origi was “awful”, but after defenders chase Firmino all over the pitch for 60 minutes, that awful-ness becomes dynamic, confusing and extremely productive.