Sevilla stun Liverpool in Europa League final

Share Button
Coke scores Sevilla's second goal in the Europa League Final against Liverpool. Pic © David Rawcliffe Propaganda Photo

Coke scores Sevilla’s second goal in the Europa League Final against Liverpool. Pic © David Rawcliffe Propaganda Photo

Liverpool’s season ended in heartbreak in Basel, as Sevilla coasted to a 3-1 victory in the UEFA Europa League final after a shocking collapse by Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Though the Reds went into the second half with a deserved goal advantage thanks to Daniel Sturridge, Unai Emery’s team hit back with a trio of strikes following the restart to seal a third consecutive triumph and underline their recent superiority in the tournament.

The loss will cast a shadow on Klopp’s promising and exciting first term in charge of the club, with Liverpool also missing the opportunity to earn a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League.

The game began with Liverpool unable to employ the same pressing style upon Sevilla as they had done to Villarreal in the semi-final, yet the first notable chance of a dominant first half display fell to midfielder Emre Can.

Daniel Sturridge celebrates after scoring the opening goal for Liverpool against Sevilla in the Europa League Final. Pic © David Rawcliffe Propaganda Photo

Daniel Sturridge celebrates after scoring the opening goal for Liverpool against Sevilla in the Europa League Final. Pic © David Rawcliffe Propaganda Photo

When a Nathaniel Clyne pull-back strayed past Sturridge, the German rifled a solid attempt to test the inexperienced David Soria. The Spaniard, who has made just 12 appearances all season, would awkwardly parry away.

Minutes later, the Clyne-Sturridge combination would offer more promising production, as the right back’s floated ball was almost headed back across Soria for the opening goal.

Though dead periods would litter much of the opening half an hour, the travelling Reds crowd sprang to life when Sturridge curled home a stunning effort from the edge of the box with the outside of his left boot.

The 34th-minute strike would be followed just four minutes later by a disallowed Dejan Lovren header — the goalscorer Sturridge was again involved, but this time for an offside infraction on a night when refereeing decisions did not go Liverpool’s way.

The half-time whistle came much to the relief of Sevilla, with their hunt for a third consecutive triumph appearing to be in tatters.

But their hope was resurrected within a minute of the restart, with Frenchman Kevin Gameiro slotting home within the six-yard box. When left back Alberto Moreno left his position to poorly clear an aerial ball, the Liverpool defence became stretched, allowing Mariano Ferreira to waltz past a tame tackle attempt and slide across to the goalscorer.

Gameiro would almost add his 29th goal of the season seconds after drawing the sides level, though the ageing legs of defender Kolo Toure did just enough to stall, intercept and the Reds avoid further calamity at the start to the second half.

But Liverpool would remain on the back foot, surrendering another golden opportunity to the Sevilla striker before slick link-up play from Vitolo would allow Coke to swing an accurate effort into Simon Mignolet’s net for the lead.

Daniel Sturridge is consoled by team-mates as Sevilla win 3-1 in the Europa League Final. Pic © David Rawcliffe Propaganda Photo

Daniel Sturridge is consoled after Sevilla win 3-1 in the Europa League Final. Pic © David Rawcliffe Propaganda Photo

The devastating second-half showing was added to further when poor marking again left captain Coke free at the back post to strike home from 10 yards, with Liverpool vainly protesting for offside. Though his first goal left Mignolet with no chance, his second was dealt with tamely by the Belgian.

Liverpool now had a mountain to climb and, in truth, they never got out of the foothills after that triple setback.

While the introduction of Divock Origi and Christian Benteke threatened to liven up their attack, it was a second half in which Liverpool offered little more than token resistance to their fate, as Sevilla deservedly won.

About Conor Allison, JMU Journalism