Liverpool sent departing manager Jurgen Klopp on his way with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Wolves as the Anfield faithful finally bade an emotional farewell to their beloved boss after eight and a half years.

Klopp was dressed cap-to-trainers in funereal black for his 491st and final game but, while there were tears, the atmosphere was nothing but celebratory.

The Kop restored some of the old favourites to their songbook, hailing some of the now-departed greats – Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Divock Origi – of the manager’s reign.

Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott is hugged by manager Jurgen Klopp
It was an emotional day for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp (Peter Byrne/PA)

However, fittingly it was two players who represent the longer-term future of Liverpool – Alexis Mac Allister signed last summer in a midfield revamp and 21-year-old centre-back Jarell Quansah – who scored the goals after Nelson Semedo was sent off.

After almost nine years of stability there is uncertainty ahead at almost every turn as the majority of the backroom staff will leave with Klopp and the likes of 30-somethings Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold entering the final year of their contracts.

There is plenty for incoming Feyenoord boss Arne Slot to deal with but he has at least been left with a squad which, but for a two-week blip in April, would probably have been in the final-day title picture instead of providing the support act to Klopp’s Anfield farewell.

The records he leaves are almost too numerous to mention but, aside from seven major trophies, include Liverpool’s longest unbeaten league run at home – three years and 272 days between 2017 and 2021.

“This is the season we aimed for the moon and ended up in the stars,” Klopp wrote in his programme notes.

“This is a club that is ready to take the journey in a new and exciting direction, not one that is ready for the journey to come to an end.”

But this was very much a celebration of the recent past with the name of the manager, noticeably less animated on the touchline, sung constantly.

Liverpool fans hold up signs for Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool fans held up signs for their outgoing boss (Peter Byrne/PA)

The match did not really spring into life until the 28th minute when Semedo was sent off for an over-the-top challenge on Mac Allister after VAR David Coote advised referee Chris Kavanagh to view the pitchside monitor.

Wolves want Premier League clubs to vote this summer on abolishing VAR but they could have had little argument with that one.

Mac Allister exacted his revenge six minutes later, rising between centre-backs Santiago Bueno and Max Kilman to head home Harvey Elliott’s inswinging cross.

When Wataru Endo’s shot was tipped around a post by Jose Sa, Alexander-Arnold whipped in the corner, Cody Gakpo flicked it on to Salah at the far post and his shot deflected up off Bueno for Quansah to force the ball home on the line.

Van Dijk’s shoulder-to-shoulder challenge on Matheus Cunha had Wolves screaming for a penalty but there was no referral.
The only thing missing to round off the perfect send-off was a goal for Salah, the talisman of the German’s era at Anfield with 211 goals in 349 appearances.

It was not for want of trying, however, as he was thwarted by Sa and Kilman late in the first half and then three times again by the goalkeeper after the break.

When Luis Diaz turned Gakpo’s cross onto the crossbar, rebounding down onto the line, Klopp pulled his baseball cap over his eyes and flashed that beaming smile of his.

Gakpo and Mac Allister also had chances in a second-half procession but that mattered less than a first clean sheet in 16 matches, secured by Alisson Becker’s save from Pedro Neto’s free-kick.

Klopp leaves with the highest win percentage – 62 per cent – any Liverpool manager in charge for more than 30 matches and the first to win his final game since Matt McQueen in 1928.

But it will be the memories, the emotional journey, which fans will remember than the trophies and statistics as the whole ground – including owners John W Henry and Tom Werner – stood to applaud as his name was chanted non-stop for the final 10 minutes of his tenure.