Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool have regained their rightful place among Europe’s elite and he is determined to keep the club there.
A 3-0 win over Middlesbrough on the final day of the Premier League season ensured Arsenal could not catch them in fourth place despite their own victory over Everton.
Although they face a play-off round in August in order to enter the Champions League proper, Klopp is keen to change a trend which has seen them qualify just twice in the last eight years.
“For me it’s the best competition, you want to be there and Liverpool needs to be there consistently,” he said.
“I would not say we’re already in because qualification is qualification but we’re already looking forward to it.
“We will be really strong and we will really fight for it because we want to be there and it’s all good.
“It’s a fantastic competition and I think in last 10 years Liverpool was not part of it too often, three years ago once only maybe.
“We should try everything to change this. We have to make steps and the step for us to be around the best teams in the world because we are one of the best clubs.”
Having struggled to break down disciplined Boro, Georginio Wijnaldum’s goal in first-half stoppage time paved the way for goals early in the second half for Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana.
Klopp’s side have been outside the top four only twice since September, the last occasion coming in February, so it is not as though their league position is not well-deserved.
They had looked like making an unlikely title challenge until results took a nosedive during a packed January schedule and they never recovered but managed to hold on for fourth place.
Klopp admits it was not the aim they had in mind from the outset but was satisfying nonetheless.
“I’m not sure if that was the target of all the Liverpool supporters, but I think pretty much the second best,” he added.
“For a few weeks we knew that’s the maximum we can achieve and we did it.
“It feels really outstandingly good at the moment but feeling on a good way is one (thing), showing you’re on a good way is another thing and I think again we showed that we deserve this position.
“Seventy-six points, that’s an outstanding number.
“That’s the base we created, we learned a lot in this year about ourselves, so we can use it.
“If you want, usually at the end of the season you’re kind of tired, but I could start – and don’t tell the players this – tomorrow because I’m already looking forward to what we can do.
“We can qualify and all that stuff and it will be a good pre-season, so I’m really looking forward to it.”