Origi goes from ‘worst striker’ to striking gold in Liverpool’s Champions League triumph 

For many of Liverpool’s players, the fuel for Saturday night’s triumph derived from the heartache of Kiev a year earlier.

Yet for Divock Origi the redemption story goes back three years to Switzerland and a different European final altogether.

These were early days in Jurgen Klopp’s reign but Origi demonstrated his potential as Liverpool hit their stride in the spring of 2016. The portents of his big-match temperament came early.

Divock Origi poses for a photo after helping Liverpool clinch the Champions League trophy

Origi scored home and away in the two-legged Europa League corker against Borussia Dortmund and then opened the scoring in a 4-0 victory over Merseyside rivals Everton. Yet it was in the 50th minute of that derby that the trajectory of the Belgian’s Liverpool career altered.

A dreadful lunge by Ramiro Funes Mori all but ended Origi’s season. A dash back from injury saw Origi make the bench for the Europa League final against Sevilla but a 21-minute substitute appearance yielded only a yellow card in a dismal 3-1 defeat for Liverpool.

In the time that has passed, Origi must have wondered whether he would ever truly belong on Merseyside. He hit double figures in his first two seasons at the club yet Origi’s career has been a curious one riddled by injuries and inconsistency though also punctuated by crucial goals.

The substitute scores an 87th-minute goal against Tottenham at the Wanda Metropolitano

But talk about a sense of occasion. Origi is, for example, his country’s youngest goalscorer at a World Cup, rising to prominence when he scored an 88th-minute winner against Russia in Brazil’s Maracana stadium aged 19 in 2014. As a reward, he took a selfie with the King of Belgium and a national park named a dolphin after him.

Liverpool’s most enduring moments of this season have been cast in stone by Origi. The weird and wacky injury-time winner against Everton, the last-gasp header at Newcastle, two swishes of the boot against Barcelona and now the goal that clinched Champions League final glory against Tottenham.

Origi celebrates his Champions League final goal in front of the travelling Liverpool fans

On the day of Origi’s headed goal against Everton it was, remarkably, the first time he had appeared in Liverpool colours in the Premier League for 16 months.

 The Belgian headed in a crucial late winner against Newcastle at St James' Park

Arsenal have just £45m to spend after missing out on a Champions League spot

Arsenal will embark on one of the biggest overhauls in their recent history with a transfer budget of just £45million.

Manager Unai Emery will tell the club his squad needs significant rebuilding work ahead of next season when he meets head of football Raul Sanllehi and chief executive Vinai Venkatesham in the coming days.

But the failure to qualify for the Champions League for the third consecutive season following Wednesday’s crushing defeat by Chelsea in the Europa League final has delivered a major blow to plans to reshape his squad.

The club’s finances are in a disarray due to crippling wage bill and a shortfall in income as they pay the price for their failure to qualify for the Champions League.

Emery could have had as much as £90m to spend on players had they defeated the Blues in Baku.

But the Gunners boss knows he must now come to terms with a significantly reduced budget.

TRANSFERS TARGETS

Plans to launch a big-money move for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha are now likely to be shelved.

Arsenal would struggle to finance a move for £80m-rated Zaha while the forward has made clear he wants to play Champions League football which rules out the Gunners.

Sportsmail understands Arsenal have enquired about Leicester’s James Maddison but have been quoted £60m.

Wilfried Zaha is a target for the Gunners but the transfer fee could be too much for them

The England Under 21 international would be interested in a move to the Emirates, but Arsenal’s finances simply won’t stretch that far.

The club’s hopes of signing RB Leipzig’s highly-rated young French under-21 defender Dayot Upamecano also ended with their Europa League final defeat.

The 20 year-old is valued at around £65m and Arsenal had held initial talks over a deal but they needed Champions League football to stand a chance of persuading Upamecano to leave Germany.

It means the Gunners will have to look for cheaper alternatives this summer. Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser is a target and could be obtainable for £30million. They also have an interest in Getafe defender Djene Dakonam.

Sportsmail understands Arsenal have enquired about Leicester’s James Maddison

HEADING FOR THE EXIT

The Gunners will hope to supplement their transfer budget by offloading a number of their highly-paid stars to reduce their astronomical wage bill.

Emery wants to sell the club’s highest earner Mesut Ozil, who earns £350,000 per week, but know his wages will be a huge stumbling block and it is understood the Gunners would be willing to subsidise a portion of Ozil’s wages to facilitate his exit.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who arrive as part of the deal that took Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United last year and Shkodran Mustafi, who joined the club in a £35m deal in 2016, are among the players Arsenal will consider offers for.

With the departure of Aaron Ramsey on a free to Juventus, Danny Welbeck out of contract and Petr Cech retiring Arsenal hope to have cleared up to £50m off their wage bill by the end of the transfer window.

Mesut Ozil could leave the club to free up £350,000 on the Arsenal wage bill

-Dailymail

Liverpool will win the Champions League trophy – Ghost Mulee

Soon after Kenya’s sons, Tottenham’s Victor Wanyama and Liverpool’s Divock Origi booked their tickets to the Champions League finals, we caught up with former Harambee Stars coach, Ghost Mulee to get his reaction.

Mulee was as elated as any Kenyan to have what is now known as a ‘Kenyan derby’ with all eyes on Harambee Stars captain Wanyama.

How Origi and dad Mike Okoth produced a twin performance 22 years apart

Wanyama will become only the second Kenyan to feature in a Champions League final after his elder brother, McDonald Mariga in 2010.

After come back victories by both teams against Barcelona and Ajax, Mulee found it hard to predict which of the English side will go on to claim European glory.

He however believes Liverpool, who came from a deep hole to oust Barcelona in a memorable match, will go on to win the trophy.

However, he doesn’t see them winning their 6th Champions league trophy in 90 minutes but will rely heavily on shoot outs.

June 1st I am torn in between the two teams.  I was supporting Tottenham because there was a Kenyan, I was supporting Liverpool because there was a Kenyan.

Now if you ask me I think this game will go to the wire, I don’t think there will be a clear winner in 90 minutes and it will head into extra time where the penalties will decide. It is hard to decide but I think Liverpool will win. 

Will Mulee be attending the finals which will be held in Madrid, Spain?

I am so broke I was looking at the ticket prices mama Mia I was nearly collapsing!

 

 

 

 

‘Never doubted the master artist! Arnold leads praise for Divock Origi

Led by Divock Origi, Liverpool produced one of the greatest comebacks in Champions league history, after they overturned a three-goal first-leg deficit to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate and reach the final.

Liverpool produce one of the greatest comebacks to drown Barcelona

Origi who was replacing the injured Firmino, fearlessly led the front line grabbing an early goal that opened the floodgates.

Second half substitute, Georginio Wijnaldum scored two quick goals to level the match sending the Anfield faithful into frenzy. Then Origi stepped up once again to completed a remarkable victory for Liverpool when he swept Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low corner into the back of the net late on.

His heroics won many hearts around the world including Kenyans thanks to his Kenyan roots.

His cousin and Kenyan international goalkeeper, Arnold Origi led the praises for Mike Okoth’s son branding as a ‘Master artist’.

Arnold who took to Instagram wrote;

You Never let up, Never gave up. Even when it got heartless in the middle of the dark heart, ur head was always high. High to the sky. Kept the faith and never doubted the MASTER ARTIST. Eyes firmly fixed on the prize. Now the MASTER ARTIST has turned the mess into a masterpiece 🙏🏾🙏🏾. So happy and proud of you @divockorigi
#alwaysbelieve🙏🏾

 

Look imekubali! Kenya’s most stylish footballers

Below are some of other reactions from celebrities.

Nigerian singer, Mr. Eazi wrote: God is Great!!!!

Popular radio presenter Mike Mondo said: That divock origi goal is better than Arya stark stabbing the night king.

Sports presenter, Carol Radull: What!!!!! Divock Origi AGAIN!!! Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona 80′ I guess now we HAVE to believe in miracles!

With Tottenham looking to emulate Liverpool tonight by overturning a one goal deficit against Ajax, Kenyans are hoping that Spurs go through so that we can have Wanyama and Origi in the finals.

Congratulations Origi and all the best to Tottenham tonight!

 

Liverpool produce one of the greatest comebacks to drown Barcelona

Liverpool produced one of the greatest Champions League comebacks in history by overturning a three-goal first-leg deficit to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate and reach the final.

Kompany gives City vital win over Leicester to leapfrog Liverpool

The Belgian striker quickly reacted to a brilliant corner from Trent Alexander-Arnold to complete a spectacular comeback

After Barcelona won the first leg 3-0 at the Nou Camp a week ago, few gave Liverpool a chance of scoring the goals they needed to progress, let alone preventing the La Liga champions from scoring themselves.

However, Divock Origi opened the floodgates in the first half and come second half, Georginio Wijnaldum scored two quick goals to level the match. three all in aggregate.

The second-half substitute rose highest to head in his second goal just minutes after scoring his first for the hosts

Origi completed a remarkable victory for Liverpool when he swept Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low corner into the back of the net late on.

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino and Nuno Santo have been nominated for the Premier League’s manager of the season award.

Manchester City boss Guardiola could become only the third manager to retain the Premier League title after Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho as his side bid to win an unprecedented domestic treble.

The 28-year-old latched on to a cross to put his shot low and hard past Barcelona's German goalkeeper

The Spaniard is being pushed hard for the title by Klopp with Liverpool already reaching the fourth-best points total of any team in a single PL season with one game to go.

Nuno has guided Wolves to a seventh-place finish and potential European qualification in their first season back in the Premier League.

Ter Stegen is unable to keep the ball out as Wijnaldum scores Liverpool's second goal to send fans into a frenzy

Crazy night! Tottenham knock Manchester City out of Champions League

Tottenham yesterday knocked out Manchester City out of the champions league on away goal in a thrilling match that saw Manchester City win 4-3 with the game ending four all on aggregate.

The match started on high note as Raheem Sterling gave City a one nil lead in the fourth minute but four minutes later Spurs were leading 2-1 courtesy of Son Heung-min two goals.

Sterling dives to the floor in front of the City supporters during the European contest

City were back on level through Bernado Silva’s deflected shot and Raheem Sterling put them ahead in the 20th minute. Sergio Aguero’s second half goal appeared to have sealed City’s fate but there was still more drama as Fernando Llorente goal was confirmed by VAR.

City appeared to have scored the winning goal through Sterling but the the goal was ruled offside by VAR as Spurs matched to semi finals on away goal rule.

Fernando Llorente proved the difference as he scored the vital third away goal at the Etihad

There were four minutes to go before half-time when Mauricio Pochettino made one of the boldest calls of his managerial career. Moussa Sissoko, a strong-running midfielder, limped slowly from the pitch; Fernando Llorente came on.

Tottenham were still going through, at the time, but Pochettino did not favour caution. He had plenty of defensive cover on the bench. He chose to introduce a striker, tinker with the team shape. Some 32 minutes later, Llorente would score the goal that sent Tottenham through to the Champions League semi-final. Fortune favours the brave; or, to dare is to do, as they like to say in that part of north London

Elsewhere, Liverpool booked a semi final date with Barcelona as they beat Porto 4-1 to win 6-1 on aggregate.

Video: Eliud Kipchoge backs Tottenham to beat Man City tonight

Olympic Champion and reigning world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, is backing Victor Wanyama and Tottenham Hotspur to beat Manchester City tonight in their Champions league quarter finals tie.

What a legend! Kipchoge donates Olympic winning shoe for exhibition

eliud kipchoge

The two English sides will be locking horns again in their second leg tie after Son heung-min’s second half goal earned them a vital 1-0 victory last week.

In a video posted across his social media pages, Kipchoge urges the Spurs fraternity to stay positive minded and make sure on Thursday every fan is proud of them.

‘You are the reason for my success,’ – Eliud Kipchoge writes after scooping another award

He says:

Guys, tonight is going to be the biggest game of your career. Believe in yourself and the team, always stay positive minded and make sure tomorrow every fan can speak proud about you.

eliud kipchoge and tottenham players

His much needed support comes just almost exactly an year since Tottenham players and staff hosted the legendary marathoner just after he had won the London marathon.

At the Spurs training ground, he was congratulated by Harambee Stars skipper, Victor Wanyama, head coach Mauricio Pochettino and a number of the players in a memorable outing.

On his post, Kipchoge says it is his time to support Tottenham after the club showed him ‘great support’ last year.

Last year I had the chance to visit and meet with the @spursofficial team and they have shown me great support since. Now it’s my time to support.

eliud kipchoge and victor wanyama

Watch the video below.

 

Champions League: Son shines in win over Man City while Liverpool drown Porto

First half goals from Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino saw Liverpool beat Porto 2-0 to take command of their first leg Champions League quarter-final tie at Anfield.

Liverpool thrashed Porto 5-0 in their last-16 stage last season, and will be looking to complete the job in Portugal in a week’s time.

Liverpool beat Southampton after spectacular Mo Salah solo strike

Porto actually created chances of their own but didn’t take them. Marega could feasibly have had a hat-trick, for example. Liverpool were more deadly and earned their advantage on the back of some superb mid-range passing.

Firmino pointed to the Anfield faithful while celebrating in front of the travelling away supporters at the Anfield Road end

Meanwhile, Son Heung-min’s late goal gave Tottenham a crucial and well-deserved 1-0 advantage over Manchester City in an entertaining all English clash played at Spurs new White Hart Lane stadium.

The only person at Tottenham who does not seem to miss Harry Kane is Son Heung-min.

Son Heung-min pointed to the Tottenham badge on his chest after scoring a potentially massive goal against Manchester City

Between January 14 and February 22 when Kane was injured, Son scored four goals in as many games. Since Kane has been back, going into this match, Son had scored just one in seven. And then Kane went off in the 55th minute. And Son scored the winner. Strange, isn’t it?

Yet this win affords hope, too. Manchester City did not get an away goal, meaning Tottenham need only a draw from here. And then there is Son. A player we know can save the day.

Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham: Mo Salah forces an own-goal from Toby Alderweireld in added time

City striker Aguero stepped up from 12 yards and looked confident as he struck the penalty kick towards the Tottenham goal

It was his sheer determination that won through on the night, working hard while around him City dawdled. They were architects of their downfall in so many ways — not least Sergio Aguero’s penalty miss. Add to that Pep Guardiola’s mystifying decision to omit Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and the combative Bernardo Silva — and the fact the players he did pick chose not to play to the whistle for the winner — and this was a massively frustrating night for City. All of their failings might be dismissed as symptoms of fatigue but it is not going to get any easier from here.

 

Watatoboa? Man United handed Barcelona as Man City face Tottenham in UCL Quarters

Manchester City and Tottenham have been paired together in an all-English Champions League quarter-final.

Manchester United have been paired with Barcelona, while Liverpool will take on Porto in the last eight.

Ajax and Juventus meet in the other tie.

The first legs will be played on April 9 and 10, the second legs on April 16 and 17.

United will play the first leg of their tie at Old Trafford because they both them and City cannot play in Manchester on the same evening.

Tottenham and Manchester City have been drawn together in the Champions League quarter-finals, as Manchester United take on Barcelona and Liverpool play Porto

The winner of the all-English quarter-final will take on either Ajax or Juventus in the semi-final, the draw for which was also made at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon on Friday.

Meanwhile, Manchester United are on a semi-final collision course with bitter rivals Liverpool if they both progress.

With four Premier League sides in the last eight for the first time since 2009, the probability of two of them meeting was high.

League leaders City will have to overcome the stubborn test of Spurs if they are to keep their hopes of winning an unprecedented Quadruple of trophies alive.

City beat Spurs 1-0 at Wembley in the league back in October and the two sides are set to meet again the weekend after the second leg.

-Dailymail

Stupid comments made by Madrid stars after Ronaldo’s exit comes back to haunt them

On Tuesday night, Real Madrid was once again exposed at home in a game they could have easily won, just days after losing 1-0 to Barcelona in the El Clasico.

Real Madrid were eliminated in the Champions League round of 16 courtesy of a 1-4 loss on the night and a 3-5 aggregate, despite heading into the match with a 2-1 advantage.

The 13-time Champions league winners found themselves trailing two nil and 3-2 on aggregate after twenty minutes, thanks to goals from Hakim Ziyech and David Neres.

Madrid showed some improvement after the break but it was Ajax who added the third goal through Dusan Tadic and minutes later Real reduced the deficit to 3-1 thanks to Marco Asensio goal.

However Ajax responded immediately through Lasse Schone stunning free kick to pick a 5-3 aggregate win.

What this result reminded me is the stupid comments made by some Madrid stars following Ronaldo’s big money move to Juventus.

Numbers do not lie and since Ronaldo joined Madrid back in 2009, he turned them from just competitors to perennial winners, not forgetting the last three European trophies in a row.

Shameful: Champions Madrid dumped out of Champions league as Ajax score four!

Check out these stats.

Real Madrid in the Champions League..

Before Ronaldo: – 04/05: R16

– 05/06: R16

– 06/07: R16

– 07/08: R16

– 08/09: R16

With Ronaldo:

– 09/10: R16

– 10/11: SF

– 11/12: SF

– 12/13: SF

– 13/14: W

– 14/15: SF

– 15/16: W

– 16/17: W

– 17/18: W

After Ronaldo: – 18/19: R16

The likes of Gareth Bale, Carvajal and Benzema were among the stars who were quoted shadowing Ronaldo’s impact in the team and claimed they will actually become better without him.

These words came back to haunt them real quick and they are now burying their heads in the sand.

Read some of the comments they made.

🗣 Bale: “We are more of a team now that Ronaldo is gone.”

🗣 Carvajal: “Raul’s career at Real Madrid was better than Cristiano’s.”

🗣 Ceballos: “You won’t notice Ronaldo’s absence.”

🗣 Benzema: “I used to play for Ronaldo, but now I’m the leader.”