The old adage that what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger certainly rings true for Divock Origi. The young Belgian was riding on the crest of a wave two years ago, playing for his country on arguably the biggest stage of all - the World Cup. He became the youngest player to score at the tournament, and the youngest Belgian to ever score in the competition.
A month after the conclusion of the tournament, the 20-year old was signed by Liverpool for £10 million. Life couldn't get much better for him or so he thought. Origi, who learnt his craft first at Belgian club Genk then at French club Lille, was sent back to northern France for the 2014/15 season. To say it was a tough period for the youngster would be putting it mildly.
"It was an awful year, it was a special situation but I'm sure it made me a lot stronger when I came here. I was very hungry to succeed but sometimes in the football world it can build you up and sometimes you can go down," Origi told the Liverpool Echo.
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Origi suffered the humiliation of being named in the worst 11 in Ligue 1 last season where he only scored eight goals. It was hardly the entry to the Premier League he wanted. There was some scepticism among Liverpool fans on his arrival, who knew all about his poor season at Lille. They weren't too keen on another average striker at the club after watching the likes of Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert the season prior.
Early signs in the pre-season were quite positive. Although very raw, he was athletic and didn't hide on the pitch. The moment when people truly started to see his potential was the Capital One Cup clash against Southampton in December where he scored a hat-trick in the 6-1 triumph. His first league goal came against West Brom a few weeks later.
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As with any young player there have been plenty of peaks and troughs since, but the last week has seen him make his most significant impact. Picked ahead of Daniel Sturridge for the first leg of their Europa League quarter final against Borussia Dortmund, he impressed - scoring an all important away goal as well as his general work rate.
Not satisfied with that performance, he followed up with a double against Stoke after coming on as a half-time substitute. It was the sort of impact which excited some Liverpool fans so much that they started comparing him to former Chelsea powerhouse Didier Drogba. While it is way too early for that kind of statement. It is clear that Origi has some talent.
He is not afraid to use the adversity he went through in France as a kind of inspiration for the rest of his career. "At the end of my career it will make it even more special when you can say 'look, the year before this happened, then the year after.... It shows that you never have to give up, when you have you head clear and work hard then anything is possible. I hope in the future it will be a nice story to tell," he said.
With that kind of honesty and positive attitude, you just hope that Origi can reach all his goals. Youth is on his side and the next few years are bound to be an exciting ride for the Belgian and Liverpool fans alike.
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