CARDIFF, WALES - Tuesday, November 16, 2021: Belgium's Divock Origi walks off after being substituted during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifying Group E match between Wales and Belgium at the Cardiff City Stadium. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Divock Origi scores 1st AC Milan goal after “worst signing” criticism

Divock Origi has scored his first goal for AC Milan in what was his ninth appearance for his new club, a bright spot after a somewhat turbulent start to life in Italy.

After eight years at Anfield, Origi swapped Anfield for the San Siro this summer having chosen AC Milan as his next destination.

The 27-year-old has not had a smooth time of it in Italy, though, with injury striking and criticism as the “worst signing of the season” coming his way.

Far from the ideal start having seen his appearances only come off the bench in his first eight games prior to Saturday, which amounted to 168 minutes.

But in contrast to his work at Liverpool, his first start for AC Milan returned his first goal, and assist, in a 4-1 victory over Monza.

Origi’s assist set up Milan’s second goal of the day Brahim Diaz, but the Belgian’s moment to shine came after the halftime break, thanks to a thunderous strike from outside the penalty box.

Straight into the top right corner, Origi’s celebration was characteristically muted despite the strike, but his smile was all the indication one needed.

His goal and assist during his 78-minute performance was welcomed by manager Stefano Pioli, who is eager to share the load across his attack.

“I think Divock is a great striker, he’s a complete forward because he can do it all,” Pioli told reporters.

“We really missed him because Oli [Giroud] had to play a lot, which is tiring.

“Divock moves well, he can drift wide or get in behind, but he’s also got the physicality to hold up the ball and win duels.”

Beyond the significance of getting off the mark for his new club, Origi’s goal also means he has now scored in four of Europe’s top five leagues.

From Lille in Ligue 1 to Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, Liverpool in the Premier League and now AC Milan in Serie A – quite the collection.

It’s been a slow start for Origi and criticism was quick to come his way, but hopefully, he can use his weekend’s performance as a springboard to make a mark for his new club.