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Emotional Klopp beaming with pride as Liverpool pack bags for Basel

By Graham Luney

Jurgen Klopp's reaction said it all - he made his way onto the pitch and fist pumped the sky.

His clinical and composed side had just reached the Europa League final by beating Villarreal 3-0 at Anfield and 3-1 on aggregate.

An own goal from Bruno Soriano and further strikes from Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana sealed a place in the final against Sevilla in Basel on May 18 after the Spanish side overcame Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate.

Villarreal had a 1-0 advantage from the opening leg but they offered little at Anfield and finished with 10 men after Victor Ruiz was sent off.

Striker Sturridge, who was left out of the first leg, said: "There will always be ups and downs in football.

"It is about being prepared to put your body on the line and take chances. It is a great feeling."

Sturridge has now scored in four of his past five appearances for Liverpool at Anfield in all competitions.

He added: "It was about soaking up the atmosphere and putting on a performance. We had to work our socks off tonight but at the end we got the result we needed and we deserved it.

"I'm grateful to God for all I've been blessed with. If you don't take shots you don't score so it's important just to be on the pitch, playing games and scoring goals."

Midfielder Lallana admitted the players had to dig deep to keep their European dream alive.

"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 deserve 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.

"That killed the game (third goal). We showed great guts, we got the second goal and even with the second if they'd have got the goal they'd have won so to get the third goal with them being down to 10 men killed the game."

The Reds have only failed to score in one of their 21 home Europa League games and that was a scoreless draw against Braga in December, 2010.

Klopp admitted he was emotional after watching his side storm into the Swiss decider.

"A wonderful night, brilliant game from my side," said the German.

"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!

"We go to Basel. We take 50k, 60k not in the stadium - maybe 100k - it is a nice city by the way, close to my home."

He added: "The whole night. What can I say, it was unbelievable.

"If this is the difference from the Premier League then it's easy to change - create atmospheres like this in every game. We know what we have to do Sunday."

Former Reds hero Jamie Carragher joined in the praise, adding: "Fantastic performance by all but a special mention for Emre Can who was outstanding!"

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