Divock Origi will end his career at Liverpool this weekend and, although he often plays understudy at Anfield, there is no doubt that he has left his mark on the club’s history.
Jurgen Klopp has confirmed the Belgian striker will leave at the end of the season, with AC Milan set to sign the 27-year-old on a free transfer after his contract expired.
He could pay for his last game in a Reds shirt on Sunday, as Liverpool host Wolves in their final game of the season with the Premier League title still a possibility – if they win and leaders Man City drop points against Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa.
Klopp has already praised Origi this season, saying he was the club’s best finisher and insisting he would become a Liverpool ‘legend’.
He also believes the striker will receive a ‘special welcome’ from Anfield fans, given Origi has etched himself into club lore with a host of important goals.
When asked if the players set to leave will receive a send-off from Anfield supporters, Klopp revealed that Origi is the only first-team member currently leaving.
“We can only do it with those we definitely know, and that’s only Div,” Klopp said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“Yes, I expect Div to receive a special reception and farewell. He is and will forever be a Liverpool legend to me, one of the most important players I have ever had.
Christian Horner drinks green Red Bull in hilarious Aston Martin ‘imitation’ dig
Gareth Bale misses ‘bitter’ Bernabeu farewell but leaves as a trophy-laden legend
TO RETURN TO
Billy Joe Saunders in talks for next fight as Hearn offers unexpected rematch
TO COME BACK?
Wladimir Klitschko almost called Tyson Fury last month and wants to break a record
Conte responds to Tottenham food poisoning claims, offers Kane update
Hearn says drug cheater Miller owes him money and should never box again
“It seems completely strange considering how many games he has had, but it is and was a pure joy to work with him.
“It’s not over yet – just the last Premier League game – but he deserves all the good thoughts we can somehow generate for his future, and wherever he goes he will succeed. 100%.
“Exceptional player, exceptional boy, everyone in the team loves him because he’s just a relaxed guy and a really lovely guy. It will be a tough time when he leaves, it won’t be for us now , but whenever it is, it will be hard.
“Since I’ve been here, Div has been here. I remember so many amazing things when I think of Div, important goals, serious injuries, ups and downs. He’s a Liverpool legend, no doubt.
Origi joined Liverpool from Lille in Ligue 1 in 2014 for £10million, before being loaned to the French club for a year, while spending a brief spell on loan at Wolfsburg.
And now, with just two league starts in his last two campaigns, the Belgium international has agreed personal terms with Stefano Pioli’s AC Milan – who need a new striker with only veterans Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Olivier Giroud currently their main attackers.
Origi made 175 appearances during his time on Merseyside, 68 as a starter, while scoring 41 times in the process, and scored some memorable and important goals along the way.
The 27-year-old scored six Premier League goals against Everton – only Steven Gerrard scored more for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby – and none were more memorable than his stoppage-time winner in 2018.
Virgil van Dijk had his head in his hands after hitting his speculative volley, only to see his looping shop bounce off the bar and who else but Origi was there to nod Jordan Pickford.
Few strikers in European football can claim to have scored a goal in the Champions League final, but Origi is one of them.
After Mohamed Salah’s controversial penalty in the 2019 final, Origi then sealed Liverpool’s sixth European crown with a fine finish to defeat Tottenham in Madrid.
And who could forget his brace against Barcelona, which has gone down in modern football folklore.
“Corner taken quickly… ORIGI!!!” is a moment no Liverpool fan would ever get bored watching, with the Belgian not only scoring in the final but also scoring two of the crucial goals that got them there.
The Reds’ comeback from 3-0 against Barcelona at the Camp Nou to earn the draw with a 4-0 win at Anfield is one of the greatest in the Champions League, a miracle that wouldn’t have happened without a performance heroic from the bench. .
He is set to be on the bench again against Wolves in Liverpool’s final game of the season, against the side he scored a late winner against at Molineux in December, while making his 100th appearance as a substitute.
But Klopp will be keen to give the striker the send-off he deserves, and Origi will be keen to bid farewell on the pitch.
Like the rest of Liverpool fans, he hopes Manchester City get it wrong at home against Kop idol Gerrard’s Aston Villa as the title race draws near.
And, who knows, he might end up leaving Anfield as two-time Premier League champions.