Divock Origi

New boys Norwich thrashed by Liverpool

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Liverpool’s bid for the 2019-20 Premier League title is off to a flying start, as Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds dismantled newly promoted Norwich City, 4-1 at Anfield in the season-opening fixture at Anfield on Friday.

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Norwich’s return to the PL began as disastrously as it could have done, gifting the European champions an own goal (courtesy of Grant Hanley) inside the season’s first seven minutes. Things only got worse from there.

Mohamed Salah made it 2-0 just 12 minutes later, and the rout was officially on.

Nine minutes later, Virgil Van Dijk made it 3-0.

14 minutes later, it was 4-0 through Divock Origi.


Three things we learned
1. No change of identity for Liverpool, who will continue to suffocate opponents with defensive pressure and attack relentlessly after they win the ball.
2. Liverpool didn’t make any major first-team signings this summer, and that has them looking like a squad that bonded together long ago.
3. Norwich’s commitment to playing (trying to, at least) progressive, attacking soccer is laudable, but might just see them blitzed on a number of occasions this season.

Man of the Match
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – A goal and an assist for the 2017-18 Player of the Year, and he — along with his teammates in red — never had to leave second gear.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines for opening weekend | How VAR will work in PL ]


Origi was the architect on the opening goal, as he worked his way down the left side of the penalty area and hit a low cross into the six-yard box. Hanley went for the right-footed clearance but shanked 180 degrees in the wrong direction.

Salah made it three straight seasons of scoring a goal in Liverpool’s PL opener (his fourth straight season, including his final campaign at Roma) and he needed just 19 minutes to do. Roberto Firmino slipped the Egyptian a through ball and Salah stroked it home to double Liverpool’s lead (WATCH HERE).

[ MORE: Premier League TV, streaming schedule | Predicting the PL table ]

Van Dijk headed home from Salah’s corner kick just before the half-hour mark (WATCH HERE), the final nail in the coffin of Norwich’s hopes for a shocking comeback. Origi waltzed toward the penalty spot and headed home Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s brilliant bullet cross three minutes before halftime, for good measure.

The worst news for Liverpool came in the form of a curious injury to goalkeeper Alisson. Upon taking a goal kick, the Brazilian appeared to injure his right leg. The pain appeared to affect him prior to kicking the ball, as he quickly glanced over his shoulder as if something or someone had touched him from behind.

Norwich’s Teemu Pukki led the EFL Championship with 29 goals last season, and the Finnish forward picked up right where he left off with a goal in his PL debut, in the 64th minute. It was the lone bright spot of the day for the Canaries, but perhaps a comforting sign they’ve got a consistent goalscorer in the top flight.

AT THE HALF: Liverpool rampant, Norwich nightmare in PL opener

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This is probably not how Norwich City saw their return to the Premier League going: down 1-0 after seven minutes; down 2-0 after 19 minutes; down 3-0 after 28 minutes; down 4-0 after 42 minutes.

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Alas, that’s the reality of visiting Anfield, home of European champions Liverpool, on the opening day of the 2019-20 season. Daniel Farke’s side, which stormed to the EFL Championship title last season, has been undressed and badly exposed by one of the world’s best teams — no shame in that, but the goal-differential column is taking a hammering already.

A quick rundown of the goalscorers (thus far): Grant Hanley (own goal), Mohamed Salah (WATCH BELOW), Virgil Van Dijk (WATCH ABOVE) and Divock Origi.

Hit the link above to watch the second half, and check back on PST for a full recap and reaction from players and managers after the final whistle.

Liverpool allows two more goals in Sporting draw

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Liverpool’s still working out the kinks after surrendering two more goals against Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

Simon Mignolet allowed a howler to Bruno Fernandes, who set up Wendel for an equalizer after Liverpool had taken a 2-1 lead on goals from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum.

[ MORE: Key questions for 20 PL clubs ]

The result means the Reds have allowed two or more goals in all three of their U.S. based friendlies (3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund, 2-1 loss to Sevilla, and Wednesday’s draw).

The Reds have also beaten Bradford City and Tranmere Rovers, and are yet to see Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane in the lineup.

Last season’s preseason wasn’t perfect, it must be noted, but the Reds only once lost and allowed multiple goals (A 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund).

The rough night in defense came after the news that Nathaniel Clyne will be lost until at least January with an ACL injury.

On a bright note, a young Liverpool defender said hello to the club after moving from PEC Zwolle this summer.

Divock Origi signs new long-term contract with Liverpool

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Once viewed as an afterthought consistently out on loan, Divock Origi has cemented himself as a member of the first-team squad at Liverpool, and on Wednesday committed his long-term future to the club by signing a fresh new contract.

The club confirmed the extension via an official release, but did not say how long the new deal is to last. Origi’s old contract was set to expire this summer and talks over a new deal had reportedly dragged on for months.

Origi, now 24 years old, signed in the summer of 2014 from Lille as a teenager and spent two seasons out on loan, first back at Lille the year after signing before spending the 2017/18 campaign at German side Wolfsburg. Origi’s development seemed to drag at times, scoring just six goals at Wolfsburg in 31 frontloaded appearances, raising doubts over his future at the club.

However, last season represented a remarkable turnaround that saw Origi play a critical role down the stretch, coming in to spell an injured Roberto Firmino as the club chased Premier League and Champions League glory. While the league chase proved too much as Manchester City never wavered, Origi was vital in the Champions League pursuit, scoring a double in the stunning comeback against Barcelona before coming off the bench in the final to seal the game against Spurs.

“I always felt comfortable here,” Origi told the official club website upon the announcement. “I made steps during my career, I say that I became a man here at this club, I signed when I was 19. When we had to make the decision I just wanted to speak with the club first and my entourage, but the feeling was always that I wanted to stay and extend my contract.”

“It was a challenging season but I always believed if I continued to do the right things and had fun on the pitch, it would come by itself,” Origi said of the most recent campaign, in which he made just 12 league appearances, scoring three goals. “In the end, I got the chance and I was happy to be able to contribute in the right way. It was a very special season.”

Origi’s role at the club remains uncertain, as Firmino impressed this summer at the Copa America with title-winners Brazil and remains the likely first-choice striker, but Origi could still find significant time if Jurgen Klopp were to implement a two-striker system or should Firmino again find himself in the recovery room.

“I really think it’s a win-win situation,” Klopp said upon the announcement, hashing up an old injury suffered three years ago in Premier League play as an example of the Belgian’s turnaround. “It’s a story really only football can write. I never forgot the situation in the Everton game [in 2016], to be honest, when there was that harsh tackle and a red card for Funes Mori. Divock was in the best shape of his life and everybody was so positive about his future, and then things like this happen in football. We always know something like this can happen but when you see it and see the influence it has on a career, it’s just a sad story because he struggled really long with the ankle and stuff like that [and when] he came back the team was flying pretty much.”

Early penalty, late strike leads Liverpool to Champions League glory

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Jurgen Klopp finally has the silverware he has craved since taking over Liverpool four years ago.

A controversial penalty given in the first minute of action slotted home by Mohamed Salah set the tone for the match, and Divock Origi killed off the game with three minutes remaining as Liverpool topped Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in a Champions League final punctuated by poor passing and drab tactical organization.

The game in Madrid started in stunning fashion, with Liverpool earning a penalty after just 21 seconds of play. Sadio Mane‘s chipped cross attempt caught his defender Moussa Sissoko off guard, deflecting off the Spurs midfielder’s chest and rebounding off his outstretched arm in the top corner of the penalty area. Sissoko was clearly pointing instructions to a teammate behind him, and Mane’s cross seemed to come earlier than he expected.

That put Salah on the spot, and he delivered a powerful, thumping penalty just over the outstretched arms of a diving Hugo Lloris who guessed right but had little chance of stopping such a blast. The goal for Salah not only gave Liverpool the lead just two minutes into the game, but made him the fifth African to score in a Champions League final, and

Spurs responded well and proved the better side in the opening stages after the goal. They combined nicely at the top of the penalty area on a number of occasions in the opening 20 minutes, but couldn’t work a good look on net. The game devolved into a nervy showcase of uncertainty, with neither side quite sure what it was trying to accomplish. The atmosphere in the stadium also sported a nervous trepidation, not certain what to make of the first half-hour. Both teams passed poorly and neither team did much of anything in the attacking third. Liverpool played extremely conservative after the early opener and Spurs didn’t trouble the Reds back line much.

Finally, on 38 minutes Andy Robertson took aim from distance on the break and forced Lloris into a leaping save, tipping the ball over the bar. On the ensuing corner, Salah blasted a volley miles over the bar. Christian Eriksen down the other end on the stroke of halftime copied Salah, into a good shooting position in front of the box and ripping it into the seats.

After halftime, not much changed. Spurs held much of the possession but both sides proved sloppy. Lloris made a quality save on Robertson again from distance, beating a streaking Sadio Mane to the ball. Mauricio Pochettino brought in semifinal hero Lucas Moura on for Harry Winks with 25 minutes to go, but it was Liverpool substitute James Milner who had the earlier impact, firing a shot agonizingly wide right with Lloris rooted to the spot. Dele Alli looked to chip the goalkeeper but Alisson was on hand to collect easily.

Sissoko went down injured with 17 minutes to go, replaced by Eric Dier in midfield. Alli had a headed attempt on 78 minutes, but couldn’t get on top of the Trippier cross and struck it over the bar with Joel Matip defending. That woke Spurs up, with Son and Moura both testing Alisson in succession entering the final 10 minutes of the match.

With the momentum seemingly shifting in Spurs’ favor, Pochettino looked to capitalize by bringing on Fernando Llorente in place of Alli. Eriksen forced another fabulous save from Alisson with a close-range free kick in the 85th minute, and Son put the ball over the bar on the ensuing corner but was offside anyways.

Liverpool finally put the game to bed in the 87th minute as Origi, on in place of Roberto Firmino, fired a perfectly placed low effort through the legs of Toby Alderweireld and past a diving Lloris into the far corner. The goal for Origi is his third in the Champions League coming on just his third shot.

The final whistle sounded and saw Liverpool champions of Europe for the first time since beating AC Milan in 2005 on that epic outing in Istanbul. The European title is the first for Jurgen Klopp coming on his third try, losing once each previously with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.