Goals from Georginio Wijnaldum, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana meant that Jurgen Klopp, in his second season in charge, guided the Reds into the top four for just the second time in the last seven seasons.
The result saw Arsenal miss out on Champions League football for the first in 20 years by finishing fifth, while Manchester City will join Liverpool in playing Europe’s elite after they finished third.
Afterwards Klopp hailed his team’s fourth-placed finish and their total of 76 points as an “outstanding job”.
“Congratulations to my team – it’s an outstanding job to get 76 points,” Klopp said.
“We had a lot of injuries and for half of the season it felt like we had a lot of key players missing. We deserve to qualify for the Champions League.
“We did the job, good and solid. It’s been a long, long season.
“I couldn’t imagine this morning it would be like this. We can enjoy this, congratulations to the team. We did an outstanding job to get a Champions League spot.
“To be ahead of Manchester United and Arsenal is a really hard job. We deserve it.”
In the eyes of Klopp, who took previous club Borussia Dortmund to the Champions League final in 2013, a place alongside Europe’s elite is exactly where Liverpool belong – even if they first have to come through the play-off round.
“It is the best tournament in Europe – there is nothing better, maybe in the world,” the German said.
“You want to be there. Liverpool needs to be there consistently.
“I am not saying we are already in, qualification is qualification, I am already looking forward to it. We will be really strong and really fight for it and we want to be there.
“It’s all good. It’s a fantastic competition. In the last 10 years Liverpool was not a part of it too often. We should do everything to change this, that’s always the way.
“You have to make steps and the step is for us to be around the best teams in the world because we are at one of the best clubs in the world.”