Divock Origi says “a gut feeling” told him to stay at Liverpool and the striker is ready to kick on from the Champions League-winning goals which have changed his life.
The 24-year-old did not start a league game last season before December and could have left the club in January.
But now – fresh from goals against Barcelona and Tottenham which helped Liverpool to their sixth European Cup – he has signed a new long-term deal.
He is set to start the season up front.
First-choice attackers Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have all missed Liverpool’s pre-season trip of the US after long summers with their nations.
Mane is not due back at the club until after the Community Shield on Sunday, 4 August.
“It is a lot to happen in a year,” Origi said. “And that’s the beauty of football.
“Winning the Champions League is a boy’s dream so it changes a lot in a player’s career. I finished last season very well and again in training I feel well. It is on me to show it on the pitch.”
Origi spent the 2017-18 season on loan at Wolfsburg and was linked with moves to Huddersfield and Wolves during the first half of last season.
He scored a winner against rivals Everton on his first league appearance, and followed up with another late goal at Newcastle as Liverpool finished a point behind champions Manchester City. The Belgian, who scored in Sunday’s friendly defeat by Sevilla, says it was a gamble to stay at Anfield but one that he feels has paid off.
“I just sat down and I felt like I wanted to stay and help this team,” he said.
“I felt good, I just had to keep performing in training and I knew my chance would come. I felt like we could do something special.
“I just had to block everything out on the outside and focus on the right things. In football you never know 100%, it could have gone another way as well but that’s the choice I made.”
Liverpool conclude their three-match trip to the US with a match against Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday evening in New York.