Jurgen Klopp hailed the efforts of his “brilliant” Liverpool side as they cruised into the Europa League final.
Goals from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and a Bruno own goal led Liverpool to a comfortable 3-0 win over Villarreal at Anfield that was easily enough to overcome the 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Spain.
“Wonderful night, brilliant game from my side,” Klopp told BT Sport. “What a performance. The first half an hour was a big emotion. It was great.
“The last 15 minutes of the first half we lost patience. The second half plan was to keep going with the emotional football but using the brain a bit more and in the end brilliant.
“Everyone spoke a lot about this team before I came here. It was all about quality and not good transfers, I came here because I thought they had a nice squad but now we are in the final – Basel – a longer season!”
Klopp’s comments were echoed by Lallana, who insisted that Liverpool deserve their spot in the final as a reward for the respect with which they have treated the often-maligned competition.
“We knew it would be a difficult night, we knew they could get the away goal but credit to the lads,” he said.
“The lads deserved to be in the final and hopefully we can win it. You have to show this competition respect and I feel we have done that.”