A ‘perfect’ final day is how Jürgen Klopp described Liverpool’s 4-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield as his side sealed a second consecutive top-four finish.

The Reds ensured they will return to the Champions League next season after clinching fourth place in the final Premier League standings with a commanding win.

Mohamed Salah’s record-breaking 32nd top-flight goal of the campaign – his 44th in all competitions – set them on their way, before Dejan Lovren doubled their advantage before the break.

Maiden Liverpool strikes from Dominic Solanke and Andy Robertson put the seal on the win as the Reds signed off in style ahead of the Champions League final against Real Madrid in a fortnight’s time.

Read on for a transcript of Klopp’s post-match press conference…

On being delighted with both the scoreline and the performance…

Perfect final [day] of the season, of a very exciting season, a very intense season. We showed again the kind of football we couldn’t show in the last few games because the boys are humans not machines. We had a lot of injury problems and the group of players which was involved today, plus Millie who was not involved today, since all the other fantastic players, fantastic boys are injured, [they] have to do the job all the time. Flying through Europe, playing there, coming then to playing Everton, playing West Brom, playing Stoke, playing Chelsea, all that stuff – it’s really, really hard. I am so pleased and so happy for the boys that they showed up today again after one week of training, [at] not the highest intensity of course, just the things we thought make sense, and then having a game like this is really nice. 

We could have scored more, I think the biggest chances we didn’t use today, but... I’m really happy we didn’t because Brighton wouldn’t have deserved that. Chris and his staff did such a good job and it should not be today that only because they don’t have pressure anymore, we had a lot of pressure, that we then give them [score] seven or so, [so] I’m really happy about the result. But after 3-0 it was the first few minutes in the season which I could really enjoy, and someone told me then that it’s 3-0 at Newcastle and I thought ‘OK, it’s done’. Then even I knew we are probably in the Champions League, then I had to sit and watch the last few minutes.

So a fantastic, fantastic achievement from the boys, a really, really nice performance over the whole season. A few outstanding performances. Last year everybody said we went to the Champions League because we didn’t have Champions League or European football. We had to prove that it was possible as well – playing Champions League and qualifying for Champions League. It’s for us the next step and I am really, really happy and really proud of the boys because they gave everything in the season and now we have two weeks to prepare for another big game.

On having 13 days to prepare for the Champions League final…

Perfect. It helped [having seven days between Chelsea and Brighton]. A few people asked me already if it’s too long – no, it’s perfect! It’s for us like a little pre-season to the game. Everyone can imagine that the boys now need a little bit of rest, we give them two days then we go on a little camp and will not train [at] high intensity. We will do a little tactical stuff, a little fitness work, keep them in shape and then five days again to prepare for the last game. That’s really what we need now and we are all happy about that. It was unbelievably intense again, the relief is a much bigger feeling than the happiness. It’s difficult to stand on your feet, that big is the relief. The pressure was immense what we had in the last few weeks, but the boys dealt really well with it and that’s a big, big thing.

On James Milner’s precautionary absence due to a muscle issue…

Only today it was not possible. I think the next three or four days he will still need and then he will be fine again. Even Millie the machine needs sometimes a few days and this game was not possible.

On Solanke’s performance and his first goal for the club…

Nice! For Dom, we are so happy to have him but the season is long [with] ups and downs for a young player, especially if you don’t play often, that’s how it is. The start was brilliant and then he had no chance to play because the other boys played fantastic and then he was a little bit in this kind of a hole. Since three or four weeks he is back and it is really nice to see him. Today he showed it, the game started difficult, little slip there and losing balls and things like that, a big chance – and then he was involved in nearly all the dangerous situations. It was really nice and the goal was then, I didn’t see it back until now, but it looked like it was quite a good one and I am happy for him. He had a big smile on his face after the game. Well deserved.

On Salah setting a new goalscoring record for a 38-game Premier League season…

Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. I think especially the last few weeks were really difficult. We all can imagine how it would be if everybody tells you every day how brilliant you are and they not only say you are brilliant, they give you an Oscar – an award for this, award for that, award for getting out of the car without an accident! So it’s really difficult to stay focused and he is focused.

The game today, for him as well, didn’t start well. I said to him ‘you are not Rondon, you are not other central strikers, you cannot always try to wrestle with the opponent, you need to move’ and he did that and then he is really difficult to defend. He has played this season, which is outstanding, but he is young enough and has enough potential to improve – that’s really good news for all of us and for him as well. There is still work to do and I’m really happy about that. 

But what he is, in his mind he is a real goal-getter and that’s cool. He wants to [score] and now mix it up in a few moments then there will be goals again. If that number [again], I have no idea of course because obviously it’s difficult to score that many goals otherwise other people would have done it already. I’m happy for him and of course he gets the Golden Boot award – cool. And then he has two weeks to prepare for our biggest game so far, that’s for sure. It’s a massive one, but now I am really looking forward to it. So far it was always a bit ‘come on, don’t let’s talk about it, we have to play this game and this game first’. Now, we will be ready and that’s really cool. This gives us a big boost, imagine we would’ve been in the final and it was the only chance to go in the Champions League is to win the Champions League final! That’s then maybe not the best option to choose, but that’s really cool now. It will be exciting.

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