Lionel who? The night Origi overshadowed Messi and became a Liverpool cult hero
Lionel Messi did not even glance at his inquisitors.
Barcelona’s captain, the world’s greatest player, wore a look of utter disbelief as he was ushered through the Anfield mixed zone. No questions, no words, no eye contact.
Who could blame him?
This was supposed to be Messi’s year, the year he led his team back to the top of the European tree. Four years without a Champions League final is a lifetime for a club like Barca, for a player like Messi. This was to be the year. It had to be. He promised it would be.
For once though, Messi was rendered powerless. He reckoned without Anfield and its remarkable, inexplicable powers. He reckoned without Liverpool and their collection of heroes, stepping up and delivering for their club and their manager and their supporters.
He reckoned without Divock Origi, the Reds’ unlikely match-winner.
The Belgian’s brace, sandwiching a pair of Gini Wijnaldum strikes, sent Liverpool through in the most incredible circumstances . They will be in Madrid next month, taking on Ajax or Tottenham. They are the competition favourites. Who would have imagined that a week ago?
Who would have imagined that it would be Origi who would fire them to the final? A year ago, the Belgium international was battling relegation from the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg. He scored nine goals on loan in Germany, where his performances rarely lifted above average.
He would have been sold to Wolves in the summer had he fancied the move, and he started this season with Liverpool’s under-23 team. He didn’t particularly impress there either, to be honest.