Divick Origi in profile

Footballers who excel at international tournaments are invariably linked with moves to bigger, more established clubs both during and immediately after such tournaments. Global coverage brings that about. It can be a risky venture as some flourish in international competitions, but fail to impress domestically once they are over. Twenty-two year old Patrik Berger, who was signed from Borussia Dortmund thirty-two days after the Wembley final of Euro 96, was a success at Liverpool. Divock Origi becomes an even younger example by signing for Liverpool in the week of the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil with nine months of his teenage years still left. Liverpool were though no stranger to his talents as he discovered on his arrival. "Liverpool followed me for a long time," Origi said in an interview with L'Equipe in August 2014. "'When I arrived in the offices there, they showed me cassettes of me in the Under 15s. Everyone knew me. I couldn't believe it. Steven Gerrard told me it was a shame that I wouldn't be there straight away as everyone was waiting impatiently for me. That means something."

Although Origi was born in the Belgian port city of Ostend, his background is the east African country of Kenya. Divock’s father Michael was born in Kenya but played for six different clubs in Belgium and it was during his time at the first of those clubs, K.V. Oostende, that Divock was born in April 1995. Divock’s cousin Arnold plays professionally in Norway so he has definitely been brought up in an environment where football has been a major factor.

Origi’s fledging career began as a youth in the city of Genk in Belgian Limburg but he moved to Lille just across the Franco-Belgian border soon after his fifteenth birthday. He had to be content with reserve-team football initially but showed enough promise to be named in the first-team squad for a French Cup-tie in January 2013 three months before his eighteenth birthday. His senior debut came only nine days later when he scored in a 1-1 draw with Troyes in front of a crowd of over 36,000. Nine more Ligue 1 appearances followed before the end of the season but no more goals. That changed in 2013/14 when he played in 30 of Lille’s 38 league matches, scoring five times and helping his club to third place behind Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco to reach the third qualifying round of the 2014/15 Champions League.

Michael and Arnold Origi both played international football for Kenya but Divock has been representing Belgium at different levels since his mid-teens and had particular success in the Under-19 team, for whom he scored 10 times in 19 matches. The Football Kenya Federation made enquiries about him but any doubts about dual-nationality were ended when national team manager Marc Wilmots named him in the 23-man Belgian squad that would travel to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup finals; and it was there that his profile was really enhanced when he scored a late goal to defeat Russia in the famous Maracanã Stadium in Rio. Having only been a substitute in the first two group matches he might have been disappointed not to start the final group match after scoring in the second. But he still played for half an hour against South Korea as Belgium topped Group H with the maximum nine points. The young forward started the first knock-out match against the United States but was replaced by Lukaku for the period of extra-time. Lukaku scored in Belgium’s 2-1 victory but Origi still started the quarter-final match against Argentina in Brazilia which the South Americans won with a solitary early goal from Higuaín.

Five appearances and one goal in a World Cup finals while still a teenager certainly made Divock Origi a name to remember. If those statistics attracted different clubs around the world, there is no doubt that Liverpool had been monitoring his progress long before a ball was kicked in Brazil. He has also been made available for a realistic fee considering that he had been under contract to Lille until the end of June 2016. Recent young forwards like Fabio Borini and Iago Aspas have failed to shine while wearing Liverpool’s colours. Hopefully this young man with Kenyan roots will reverse that trend. Liverpool fans won't see him in their team's colours yet as the 19-year-old will immediately be loaned back to Lille for the duration of the 2014/15 season.

Copyright - - written by Chris Wood ([email protected])

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