Liverpool secured fourth spot with a 3-0 pummelling of Middlesbrough at Anfield on Sunday to finish 2016/17 the same way they started it – with a bang
Three goals, a clean sheet, 76 points recorded, fourth spot secured and a 50th victory reached under Jurgen Klopp.
Gini Wijnaldum pounded his chest after lifting the nerves with an expert finish, Philippe Coutinho pointed skyward as he converted another curling free-kick, and the Liverpool manager engaged in his trademark run and leap on the touchline when Adam Lallana buried a break.
Job done at Anfield – and in style too. The Reds showed off their stunning new home kits for next season as they made their efforts in this one count with a patient then potent pummelling of Middlesbrough.
Fittingly, given Liverpool’s difficulties against deep defences, a strong finish had to be secured by solving that very issue.
The relegated visitors spent much of the encounter with a back six and, bar rare breaks through the lively Patrick Bamford, had neither the ambition nor the desire to be a nuisance in Liverpool’s box.
Their hindering approach frustrated Klopp’s side and ramped up the anxiety at Anfield, where news of early leads for Manchester City and Arsenal filtered through.