Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Friday that striker Divock Origi will leave the Premier League club at the end of the season.
The Belgium international has not played enough matches to trigger an extension to his contract and has been heavily linked with a move to AC Milan.
The 27-year-old has been a bit-part player since he joined Liverpool in 2014 but has scored vital goals including two in an astonishing comeback against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.
Origi also scored in the final that year as Liverpool lifted their sixth European Cup against Tottenham.
“I expect Div to get a special reception, or farewell, or whatever,” said Klopp, whose side are just one point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with one game left.
“He is and will be for me, forever a Liverpool legend (and) one of the most important players I ever had.
“That sounds completely strange with the number of games he had, but it is, and was, a pure joy to work together with him.”
Klopp, whose side host Wolves on Sunday, said it would be a “harsh moment” when Origi leaves Anfield.
“I remember so many things when I think about Div that’s incredible — important goals, injuries… bad injuries, and all these kinds of things — ups and downs,” he said. “He is a Liverpool legend, no doubt.”
Liverpool, who are still in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple, must win on Sunday and hope Pep Guardiola’s City slip up at home against Aston Villa.
“Divock Origi, the legend, finished it off and it’s a great story,” said Klopp. “He’s an incredible striker, for different reasons he did not play that often but I hope one day he finds a manager that plays him more than I do.
“He’s one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen in my life. In this great team, with our three, he doesn’t play all the time but he is a very positive boy, loves the club, wants to contribute and he did in an incredible way.”
Chelsea’s defeat to West Ham earlier on Saturday handed Klopp’s men the chance to move ahead of the European champions.
Origi’s low finish from Salah’s cut-back moves Liverpool a point clear of the Blues and two ahead of Manchester City, who face Watford later on Saturday.
“Other results are not really important, we just want to win football games,” added Klopp. “We played three days ago and the derby (against Everton) is easy to focus on as it’s the game of the year, then we start the machine again and I like how we fought today.”
Liverpool had scored four goals in each of their last three league games and two or more in 18 straight games, but saw that run come to an end due to a rare off day with their finishing.
Trent Alexander-Arnold volleyed over before Jota headed over the first of his big chances to score against his former club.
Salah was denied a simple tap in for his 20th goal in as many games by a miraculous last-ditch challenge from Romain Saiss to divert Andy Robertson’s cross to safety.
The chances continued to come and go for Liverpool after the break, but none were bigger than the one presented to Jota midway through the half.
A mix up between Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa and Saiss allowed the Portuguese international to walk the ball towards and unguarded net, but he fired straight at Conor Coady on the line rather than placing the ball into the corner.
Heroics from Sa then seemed set to earn Wolves a point as he denied Mane and Salah.
But he was finally beaten with virtually the last kick of the game as this time Salah played the provider and picked out Origi, who spun before lashing the ball in low on his left foot to spark scenes of wild celebration from Klopp and the rest of the Liverpool bench.
Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers held on to oust Liverpool and reach the FA Cup fifth round with a deserved victory at Anfield.
Richard Stearman put the visitors ahead after only 53 seconds and Helder Costa set up Andreas Weimann to double Wolves’ lead later.
Divock Origi scored a late consolation for the largely subdued Liverpool.
The result is the second defeat in cup competition in four days for Jurgen Klopp’s side after they lost to Southampton in the EFL Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.
However, it was a massive win for Arsenal in spite of the manager Arsene Wenger’s touchline ban.
A Danny Welbeck brace, followed by a Theo Walcott hat trick ensured that the Gunners trashed Southampton 5-0 at the St Mary’s Stadium.
In other FA Cup matches played on Saturday, Sean Dyche’s Burnley knocked out championship strugglers Bristol City with a 2-0 win at Turf Moor, while league leaders Chelsea put four goals past Brentford with Willian, Pedro, Branislav Ivanovic and Michy Batshuayi all getting on the score sheet.
Elsewhere, Manchester City put their troubles in the league behind them to beat Crystal Palace 3-0.
Blackburn Rovers also defeated Blackpool 2-0 while League One side, Oxford pulled off the biggest upset in the round with an impressive 3-0 victory over promotion chasers Newcastle United.
Stewart Downing’s superb 69th minute strike sent Middleborough through to the next round as Aitor Karanka’s men beat Accrington Stanley 1-0.
Tottenham came back from behind to beat League Two side Wycome Wanders 4-3 as South Korean forward Son Heung-Min scored a stoppage-time winner.