Origi made his first appearance of the campaign as Liverpool earned a 3-2 win at Anfield on Wednesday night, having been left out of the squad entirely three days previous.
It was a hit-and-miss display from Origi, but he ended the game having teed up Mohamed Salah‘s equaliser at 2-2 with an exquisite pass over the defence.
Having not started for Liverpool since January 31, the Belgian’s involvement will have come as a surprise to most, but speaking after the game, Klopp insisted: “People forget how good he is.”
"It was spectacular. Again, a European night at Anfield, I love it!"
Jürgen Klopp saying what every Liverpool fan knows… He loved the full house under the lights ?
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 15, 2021
So much so, of course, that Origi was up for sale in the summer transfer window, with Liverpool left without a “proper offer.”
“Div played a super game,” Klopp told BT Sport, also confirming the striker was forced off with cramp.
“But people forget how good he is. It’s just difficult to get in this team.
“So in the summer transfer window, we all thought there would be a proper offer – and obviously people don’t watch football enough!
“Div is a sensational striker, and he did really well today.”
Klopp’s comments certainly make sense, as it stands to reason that Origi should be made to feel cherished having failed to secure a move away from the club in the transfer window.
With Roberto Firmino currently sidelined, Liverpool have already been given a taste of what to expect over the course of the campaign, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane due to miss games in January and February due to the Africa Cup of Nations.
While he is clearly not considered a first-choice starter for the Reds, the hope will be that Origi can contribute when called upon, just as he did against Milan.
Perhaps, after a season in which he started only six of 17 appearances, Klopp should have anticipated interest in the 26-year-old being minimal this summer.
But these outings could now serve to remind people of the talent on the market.
Jordan Henderson's superb finish gave Liverpool a 3-2 victory from behind over AC Milan in a thrilling opening-night clash in Champions League Group B.
Liverpool burst out of the traps and were 1-0 up early on through Fikayo Tomori's own goal from a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross (9), before Mo Salah saw his penalty saved by Mike Maignan (14), his first miss in 17 for Liverpool.
But Milan produced two goals out of thin air as Ante Rebic's tidy finish (42) and then former Man City man Brahim Diaz's tap home (44) from two similarly blistering breaks stunned Anfield going into half-time.
Salah made up for his penalty miss with a leveller just after the break (48), poking home Divock Origi's clever chip over the defence, and Jordan Henderson completed Liverpool's own comeback with an exquisite half-volley from 20 yards (69) from a cleared corner.
The result, paired with Atletico's 0-0 draw against Porto, puts Liverpool on the front foot in a tricky Group B, with Porto next up away from home on September 28. Jurgen Klopp's side are unbeaten in all competitions this season, and unbeaten in 14 overall.Player ratings
Liverpool: Alisson (6), Alexander-Arnold (7), Gomez (7), Matip (6), Robertson (8), Fabinho (7), Keita (6), Henderson (8), Salah (7), Origi (7), Jota (6).
Subs: Mane (6), Jones (6), Thiago (6), Oxalde-Chamberlain (NA), Milner (NA)
AC Milan: Maignan (7), Calabria (6), Kjaer (6), Tomori (5), Hernandez (6), Bennacer (5), Kessie (6), Saelemaekers (6), Diaz (6), Leao (6), Rebic (7).
Subs: Giroud (5), Florenzi (5), Tonali (5), Maldini (NA)
Man of the match: Jordan HendersonHow Liverpool came out on top in five-goal classic
It was Anfield's first European night with supporters in attendance since the start of the pandemic, while seven-time winners AC Milan were back in Champions League action for the first time in seven years.
But it was a rude awakening initially for the Italians as Liverpool camped in Milan's defensive third from the first minute; Andrew Robertson and Diogo Jota missed early half-chances, and they took the lead through brilliant combination play between Alexander-Arnold and Salah.Image: Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after putting Liverpool 1-0 ahead
Having played a one-two with Salah around an unsuspecting Rafael Leao, Alexander-Arnold skipped his way into the box on the right, looked to centre, and saw the ball deflect off Tomori and over goalkeeper Maignan for an own goal.
It should have been 2-0 moments later as Liverpool were awarded a penalty for a handball from Ismael Bennacer as he blocked Robertson's cross, but Salah's blasted penalty was saved by Maignan down the middle, before the Milan stopper reacted well to tip away Jota's headed rebound at close range.Team news
Liverpool made four changes to the side that beat Liverpool as Virgil van Dijk was benched alongside Thiago and Sadio Mane, while Harvey Elliott was out injured.
Joe Gomez came in for his first start since November, Divock Origi got his first start since January, while Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita came into midfield.
AC Milan made three changes to the side that beat Lazio on Sunday as Simon Kjaer, Ismael Bennacer and Alexis Saelemakers came in for Alessio Romagnoli, Sandro Tonali and Alessandro Florenzi. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was out injured, while Olivier Giroud was on the bench.
Milan then settled slightly as Liverpool moved to a lower gear, but the chances continued to flow as Joel Matip headed a good opportunity at Maignan, and Salah's snap-shot from the edge of the box was tipped away brilliantly by the busy goalkeeper.
14 - Mohamed Salah is now Liverpool's joint-highest scorer in European Cup/UEFA Champions League games at Anfield, with his 14th taking him level with Steven Gerrard. King. pic.twitter.com/XEPkOSGwfe— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 15, 2021
But such is the nature of Champions League football, one moment of quality turned the game on its head. Milan equalised from nowhere as Leao's pass split Matip and Joe Gomez to find Rebic, who wrapped his foot around the ball to finish low past Alisson.Image: Brahim Diaz put AC Milan 2-1 up just before the break
And just 110 seconds later it was 2-1 as Rebic was released again by Leao on the left of the box. This time he squared for Theo Hernandez, whose shot was blocked on the line by Robertson, only for Diaz to tap home again with the Liverpool defender failing to get back to his feet in time.
Liverpool's fans and players went into half-time wondering how their dominance was not reflected in the scoreline.
But they were let off the hook seconds after the restart as Simon Kjaer converted at the back post from a Jordan Henderson error at a corner, only for the offside flag to correctly go up, and it was soon 2-2.Image: Mo Salah scores Liverpool's second goal
Receiving the ball on the edge of the box from Salah, Origi scooped the ball over the Milan back line for the Egyptian, who composed himself before pushing the ball past Maignan, staying just onside.
AC Milan retreated again, and Liverpool huffed and puffed before getting their third midway through the second half through an unlikely source.
From a half-cleared corner, Henderson's first-time half-volley from the edge of the box was struck superbly, flying into the bottom left corner for only his second Liverpool goal since the end of the 2019/20 season.Jordan Henderson described Liverpool's 3-2 win against AC Milan as a rollercoaster after scoring the winner at Anfield.
The one-goal lead was still fragile as sub Olivier Giroud headed off target, while Alisson just cleared ahead of Milan's front line from a corner, but Liverpool held on.
This wasn't quite Istanbul in 2005, but the victory and comeback was a show of character from a Liverpool side reverting to type following an topsy-turvy 2020/21 season, and a classic European night will contribute heavily to the feeling of normality at Anfield.Klopp: No Origi interest? Obviously people don't watch enough football! Image: Divock Origi put in a fine performance in Liverpool's 3-2 win over AC Milan
Jurgen Klopp on BT Sport:
"[Divock] played a beautiful game. People forget how good he is, it's difficult to get into this team.
"In the summer transfer window we all thought there would be a proper offer for him, but obviously people don't watch football enough.
"He's a sensational striker and he did really well today."
Klopp added in his post-match press conference: "He's a great guy. He'll be seen as a legend when he leaves. He could have left in the summer but football is a crazy place and people forgot how good he is. We have to decide the positions. He did nothing wrong."Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says their 3-2 win against AC Milan was but was a good game to win with every point valuable in the Champions League group stages. Opta stats - 2,485 days between Henderson's CL goals
September 28: Porto (A) - kick-off 8pm
October 19: Atletico Madrid (A) - kick-off 8pm
November 3: Atletico Madrid (H) - kick-off 8pm
November 24: Porto (H) - kick-off 8pm
December 7: AC Milan (A) - kick-off 8pmWhat's next?
Liverpool now host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday at 3pm, while Milan are at Juventus on Sunday evening at 7.45pm in Serie A. Milan's next Champions League group game is at home to Atletico Madrid on September 28 at 8pm.
For around half an hour of Wednesday night's game at Anfield, the pressure on AC Milan's goal was unrelenting.
Rafael Leao, disorientated amid the onslaught, could be seen passing the ball straight to Trent Alexander-Arnold in his own box. Ismael Bennacer, terrified as Andrew Robertson snapped at his heels, was spotted dribbling at full speed in the wrong direction.
This Liverpool side can do strange things to their opponents when they are in this kind of mood; rampant in their pursuit of victory and roared on by a feverish Anfield crowd. Implausibly, their shot count stood at 13 after just 15 minutes of the game.
"We started incredibly well," said Jurgen Klopp afterwards. It was an understatement. By the time their opener arrived, Alexander-Arnold's cross-shot bouncing in off Fikayo Tomori in the ninth minute, Liverpool could have been out of sight already.
Milan kept trying to play out from the back and Liverpool kept swarming all over them. Stefano Pioli's side barely made it out of their own defensive third let alone their half. "Super, super, super intense," added Klopp in his description of that opening period.
This was Liverpool at their most electrifying.
The full-backs flew forward, the front three interchanged positions, and in midfield, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson enjoyed total control. Neither of them misplaced a single pass in the opening half hour.
Even after Mohamed Salah missed his penalty, it felt inevitable the lead would be extended. Mike Maignan saved from Joel Matip and then thwarted Salah again. But Liverpool kept pushing.Jurgen Klopp gives his verdict on the 3-2 win over Milan
Gradually, though, the tempo began to ease off and soon Milan were able to gain a foothold in the game.
Liverpool had been utterly dominant but the contest was turned on its head when Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz scored in the space of just 110 seconds shortly before the break.
To most, the turnaround came from nowhere.
Klopp, though, had seen it coming.
"We got punished in the last few minutes before half-time but it started earlier," he explained. "We got a bit carried away by our own football. We didn't keep it simple anymore, offensively, and we were not well organised anymore defensively.
"When we are organised, Fabinho is absolutely incredible and he can pick up all the challenges we need him for. But when the spaces are too big, even he can't solve it."Image: Salah scored Liverpool's second goal against AC Milan
There were numerous errors for both Milan goals.
For the first, Diaz was given too much space to find Alexis Saelemaekers, who had eluded Naby Keita too easily between the lines. Joe Gomez then allowed Rebic to run off him, while Matip and Alexander-Arnold were too far away to be of any help.
Liverpool's defence was in disarray and it was the same story for Milan's second. Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho were too slow in tracking Leao, Matip missed his interception and suddenly Liverpool were behind. "Not nice," was how Klopp described it afterwards.
As Milan celebrated each goal, the camera panned to Virgil van Dijk on the Liverpool bench. The Dutchman was conspicuous by his absence in those error-strewn passages of play.
Liverpool did improve defensively after the break but it is a testament to just how quickly Van Dijk has re-established his presence in their defence that he can be so sorely missed after only four games back in the side.
Van Dijk has been his commanding self since returning to action last month. In his four Premier League appearances so far, Liverpool have only conceded one goal. Only Manchester City and Wolves have allowed their opponents fewer shots.
Liverpool had to manage without him for almost the entirety of last season as he recovered from his cruciate knee injury but that chaotic period against Milan was another reminder of what they lose when he's not there.
Van Dijk's physical and technical qualities are unrivalled and so too is his ability to organise what happens around him.Jordan Henderson described Liverpool's 3-2 win against AC Milan as a rollercoaster
Indeed, the communication breakdown between Gomez and Matip for Milan's first goal wouldn't have happened had he been there. Alexander-Arnold wouldn't have been allowed to wander so far out of position either.
"Virgil could have played but I have to force myself to be really sensible," explained Klopp before the game, citing Liverpool's hectic schedule and the 30-year-old's recent return from injury.
"It's not exactly what Virgil wanted, or what I wanted, but I had to do it anyway."
In the end, Klopp was right to be sensible. Many supporters would have welcomed the sight of Van Dijk appearing from the bench but Klopp trusted the others to recover and that's what they did.
Van Dijk will be better for the rest and, with the Dutchman restored to the starting line-up, Liverpool will hope the next time they subject their opponent to a barrage like the opening half-hour at Anfield on Wednesday night, there will be no defensive errors to jeopardise the result.
Joe Gomez makes his first start of the season in Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League opener with AC Milan at Anfield tonight.
The centre-back is named in the Reds’ starting XI for the first time for a competitive fixture since November 2020 after recovering from knee surgery.
Gomez is one of four changes Jürgen Klopp makes from the weekend win at Leeds United, with Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Divock Origi also coming into the line-up.
Virgil van Dijk, Thiago Alcantara and Sadio Mane are on the bench, while Harvey Elliott is ruled out due to the ankle injury sustained at Elland Road.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Keita, Jota, Salah, Origi.
Subs: Adrian, Kelleher, Van Dijk, Konate, Thiago, Milner, Mane, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Minamino, Tsimikas, Phillips.
Tickets for the game are sold out and supporters not in possession of a ticket are urged not to travel to Anfield.
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Liverpool U19s began their 2021-22 UEFA Youth League campaign with a 1-0 victory over AC Milan on Wednesday afternoon.
Max Woltman's clinical finish early in the first half was the difference in an entertaining encounter at the Kirkby Academy.
Harvey Davies made sure of the three points with a terrific performance in the young Reds' goal and they'll now look to build on the win when they travel to FC Porto later this month in Group B.
Woltman delivered a statement of intent in the opening phases, forcing the first of many saves from Milan goalkeeper Sebastiano Desplanches.
He beat the stopper after eight minutes of play following tenacious work down the left-hand side by Owen Beck. The Welsh full-back battled hard to win back possession inside the final third, before calmly delivering a cut-back that found the free Woltman inside the box.
The No.9 swept the cross on the half-volley into the far corner, giving the hosts the perfect start.
The rest of an end-to-end opening 45 minutes saw both teams go close on a number of occasions.
Davies and Desplanches made fine interventions throughout to keep the scoreline at 1-0, though Milan's Youns Gabriele El Hilali struck the crossbar from close range shortly before half-time.
The first clear-cut chance of the second period fell to Milan, with El Hilali firing over after a corner was flicked on at the near post.
Davies was called into action again with 17 minutes remaining when he brilliantly clawed away Enrico Di Gesu's looping header, which was destined for the back of the net. He then kept out Gabriele Alesi's long-range effort and follow-up shot.
Di Gesu was again denied by the Liverpool goalkeeper, who got down well to push clear a drilled hit from the edge of the box.
The Reds survived late attempts from substitutes Leonardo Rossi and Alesi to ensure it was a successful afternoon in matchday one.
Liverpool U19s: Davies, Bradley, (Bajcetic, 90), Chambers, Koumetio, Beck, Morton, Stephenson, Gordon, Balagizi (Corness, 86), Woltman, Musialowski (Cannonier, 81).
Unused substitutes: Mrozek, Norris, Frauendorf, Clark.
With the subsequent appeal having being dismissed, Struijk will now be suspended for Leeds’ next three matches.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men travel to Newcastle on Friday, then Fulham in the Carabao Cup four days later before hosting West Ham the following Saturday.
Struijk’s challenge left Elliott with a fracture dislocation of his left ankle. The 18-year-old Liverpool midfielder underwent successful surgery on Tuesday.
Following the news that Struijk’s suspension would stand, Elliott apologised to the Leeds man and said he thought “it’s wrong.”
Replying to a post about the news on Sky Sports’ Instagram account, Elliott said: “Sorry about this Pascal. I think it’s wrong. But it’ll soon blow over brother and you’ll be back in no time smashing it again. Keep positive.”
Regarding Elliott’s recovery, Liverpool club doctor Jim Moxon told the club’s website on Tuesday: “We won’t put pressure on him by setting a specific timeframe beyond being able to say with confidence we expect him to feature again later in the season following our rehab programme.”
Karius garnered surprise as deadline day passed without finalising his Anfield exit, having spent pre-season with the first team effectively as fourth or fifth choice.
The German failed to secure a switch before August 31, and further deadlines in Russia (September 7) and Turkey (September 8) passed without a suggestion of interest from either top flight.
While there is still a chance of a transfer to Serbia or Mexico, for example, with their windows still open, that seems very unlikely.
Instead, Karius is due to spend at least the next three-and-a-half months with Liverpool – though, as it stands, he is back in Berlin recovering from a shoulder injury.
That the club were willing to allow Karius to return to Germany to nurse an ongoing problem proves his standing under Jurgen Klopp – with all avenues explored throughout the summer to find him a new club.
According to The Athletic‘s James Pearce, Basel were among the sides hoping to land a deal for the 28-year-old, only for his wage demands to see any move fall through.
In short, Karius would have been required to take a pay cut to join the 20-time Swiss Super League champions, which saw both permanent and loan bids unsuccessful.
The player will see his contract with Liverpool expire next summer, and if he does not agree to a move away in the January transfer will simply spend his final months earning a lucrative wage with no chance of playing.
That is Karius’ prerogative, of course, with the club giving him an extension prior to sanctioning a two-year loan at Bestikas in 2018.
But it certainly asks questions of his ambition, with German journalist Christoph Biermann pointing to his existing salary as a roadblock for many of the sides who would be interested.
“He doesn’t really get talked about in Germany. If he hadn’t played in a Champions League final, it would be a very ordinary story in the world of football,” Biermann told The Athletic.
“It’s sad what’s happened to him. I feel for him. He’s a very decent goalkeeper, just not a top one – not one for Liverpool.
“But there should be a lot of clubs around who would be happy to have him. One of the problems is that he earns so much money.”
The Reds kick off their Champions League campaign on Wednesday night with their first meeting with AC Milan since the final in 2007.
It will be their first-ever clash at Anfield and only their third competitive game in history, with Jurgen Klopp hoping for a strong start to the tournament on the back of a four-game unbeaten run.
Up to midnight prior to any Champions League game, however, clubs are able to name an unlimited number of players on List B provided they met certain criteria.
UEFA explain that these players must be “born on, or after, 1 January 2000 and [have] been eligible to play for the club concerned for any uninterrupted period of two years since [their] 15th birthday.”
Klopp has bolstered his squad with 15 further additions, then, including Jones and Williams.
Harvey Davies retains his place as fourth goalkeeper in Europe, with Billy Koumetio, Owen Beck, Conor Bradley and Tyler Morton also involved from the extended pre-season group.
Defenders Jarell Quansah, Luke Chambers and James Norris, midfielders Dominic Corness and James Balagizi and forwards Max Woltman, Harvey Blair and Oakley Cannonier make up the rest of the 15.
Cannonier is best known for his role as ball-boy for Divock Origi‘s goal against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final in 2019, with his swift thinking allowing Trent Alexander-Arnold to take his corner quickly.
But the 17-year-old is carving out a reputation as a deadly goalscorer in the under-18s, having struck six times in three games for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side.
Bar Pitaluga and Hughes, however, those youngsters will be given a chance to impress in Europe regardless, as part of the under-19s squad for the UEFA Youth League.Liverpool’s Champions League squad
Defenders: Van Dijk, Matip, Gomez, Konate, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Tsimikas, Phillips
Forwards: Salah, Mane, Firmino, Jota, Minamino, Origi
List B: H.Davies, Koumetio, Quansah, N.Williams, Chambers, Beck, Bradley, Jones, Norris, Corness, Morton, Balagizi, Woltman, Blair, Cannonier
Leeds have been unsuccessful in their appeal against the red card shown to Pascal Struijk for a tackle that left Liverpool's Harvey Elliott requiring surgery on a dislocated ankle.
Struijk was dismissed for the challenge on the Liverpool 18-year-old, which resulted in him being taken off on a stretcher.
Elliott is expected to return to action this season, according to Liverpool's club doctor, after the midfielder underwent a successful ankle operation on Tuesday.
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