Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp could not hide his delight at seeing his side book a spot in next season's Champions League, admitting he felt qualification was impossible just a few weeks ago.
The Reds, who have suffered greatly with injuries all season, looked to have capitulated in March when a run of six successive defeats at Anfield saw them fall to eighth in the Premier League standings, but a swift upturn in form changed things and the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday means Liverpool finished the campaign in third.
Klopp had previously suggested that guiding this Liverpool side to the top four would be among his greatest achievements ever, and he doubled down on that stance having seen that turn into a reality.
"It’s big, it’s big. If someone would have told me weeks ago – five, six, eight, 10 weeks ago – that we can finish the season in third, that was absolutely out of reach and felt impossible," he said (via the club's official website).
"Even the good things when they happened this year didn’t feel too good very often because too many things around happened. The injuries was a subject that followed us through the whole year and that was really tough to take.
"Just as an example, we win 3-0 at Burnley, happy camp, everything fine, we go home and Rhys Williams needs to have a scan because he has a hamstring [injury]. He didn’t train for three days, but could play today and that was the lucky moment but nobody knew that until a few hours before the game.
"For the whole team, fighting through this and finishing third is the best lesson you can learn for life. I couldn’t be more happy that I was around when that happened again. From nowhere to the Champions League in five weeks is a massive achievement as I see it and I think that’s right."
Klopp was then given the task of summing up what has been one of the wildest Premier League seasons in recent memory, and unsurprisingly, he had absolutely no idea what to say.
"I cannot sum it up, too much happened, to be honest," he said. "But to have the opportunity to do this, to have this last game in front of 10,000 people means really the world to us.
"And I have to say, I don’t want to blame the other 45,000 who are usually here but the 10,000 did a really good job today. When we came out it felt like, ‘Oh, it’s sold out!’ That was absolutely incredible, it was so nice to have this experience again together.
"Everything is better when the people are in the stadium and we are better when the people are in the stadium, that’s how it is. We can fight more when people are in the stadium because they support us, they give us a boost, they help us. That we did it without them makes the achievement even bigger, to be honest, but I don’t want to try it a second time, if I am 100% honest!"