It was shortly after the final whistle when a jubilant spectator in Anfield’s Main Stand christened their Merseyside derby hero with a new nickname. “It’s Dixie Origi!” came the cry.
Divock Origi, the enigmatic Belgian striker, is still some way off the record goalscorers in this fixture – Ian Rush and Dixie Dean – but few have had such a profound influence in its modern history. Only Steven Gerrard has more Merseyside derby goals in the Premier League era.
When Origi was ushered forward to replace Sadio Mané after 60 minutes, there was a hum of expectation on the Kop and sense of foreboding in the visiting end.
Origi duly delivered his sixth derby goal, thus erasing any chance of an Everton equaliser.
Of more significance were the events two minutes after he was sent on. Origi was involved in the build-up to the Andrew Robertson header, exchanging passes with Mohamed Salah to break the visitors’ resistance. Jürgen Klopp pointedly dashed to Origi at full time to administer the first of many hugs – a familiar journey towards the king of the cameos.
“He is a legend on and off the pitch,” Klopp said. “He is a fantastic footballer, for me, and I know it sounds ridiculous as I don’t line him up often, he is a world-class striker. He is our best finisher. Definitely.”
There can be no more curious Liverpool career than that of Origi. He is like some kind of lucky charm with a habit of disappearing for months only to return to plant himself in the middle of a momentous incident.
He was inspirational in Liverpool’s 4-0 semi-final win in the Champions League over Barcelona in 2019, contributing the first and last goals. Then he scored in the Champions League final.