Sevilla have been crowned Europa League champions for the third time on the bounce after coming from behind to beat Liverpool 3-1 in the final match in Basel.
It all started so well for Liverpool who opened the scoring through Daniel Sturridge ten minutes before the break with a wonderful effort with the outside of his boot, but Liverpool failed to use the momentum and build up on the lead in the second term against the rampant Spaniards.
Sevilla levelled the score just 17 seconds after the restart as Alberto Moreno misfired a clearance to be nutmegged by Mariano in the build-up for Kevin Gameiro’s goal.
Liverpool were behind just after the hour mark as Coke pushed in a first time shot past the helpless Simon Mignolet. The same player added another goal to seal Liverpool’s miserable performance after the break.
Sevilla have been crowned Europa League champions for the fourth time in their history and are the record holders in this competition. Unai Emery’s men have also qualified for the Champions League next year and will be playing in Europe’s elite competition in the 2016-17 season.
Here are the five things we learned from Europa League final between Liverpool and Sevilla:
Istanbul just a distant memory
Liverpool went off to a flying start in the competition and also completed a memorable comeback against Borussia Dortmund, before dispatching Villarreal in the semi-final, but they failed to repeat the Istanbul 2005 heroics, proving that there is a long road ahead of them before they manage to return to the path of glory.
Liverpool’s memorable comeback against AC Milan remains just a memory with Reds’ utter incompetence to get back in the game cost them a Europa League trophy this evening in Basel.
Following Daniel Sturridge’s goal in the first half, the entire side lost the plot and returned from the tunnel a different team.
Liverpool lack a winning mentality
Jurgen Klopp has been given a vote of confidence and plenty of time to go out and restore pride, self-belief and confidence following a long disappointing spell before him at Anfield, but all of his good work at Anfield might have been ruined by tonight’s loss at Basel.
All of the refereeing dilemmas aside, penalty doubts and handballs that could have changed the course of the game aside, Liverpool lack winning mentality.
The current crop of players is not thriving under pressure, Reds have bottled it once too many times in recent times and it will be up to the German tactician to make some serious cuts in the summer.
This team has lost their second final this year, following the League Cup defeat to Manchester City in February and it is fair to say that lack of winning mentality is one of the reasons for Liverpool’s struggled against Sevilla.
Jurgen Klopp needs improvement himself as tonight’s final was his fifth straight lost with Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.
La Liga’s dominance
This year’s editions of European competitions have once again served as ultimate proof of Spanish dominance.
La Liga yielded three of the four teams in the final matches of Europa League and Champions League, two more were present in the semi-finals and there is no arguing around clear facts.
When talking about Europa League it is enough to mention that four of the last five winners of the competition, since 2012, were Spanish teams with Atletico Madrid joining the three-time champions Sevilla.
Numbers are not much different in the Champions League as well.
Barcelona and Real Madrid won the major European titles last year and one before that respectively, Los Blancos will be fighting for their 11th Champions League title against Atletico Madrid later this month for the third Spanish title in last five years.
Sevilla making history
Europa League specialist have put in a memorable display against Liverpool.
Los Rojiblancos have won their third title in a row and have proven to be tough nut to crack. Coming from behind has apparently become a thing of their own in this competition as they came from behind to beat Dnipro in last year’s final as well.
Their experience proved crucial in the second half of the game as Emery’s men refused to back down under pressure and went on to write history in the competition.
Spanish team have become the first team in history to win three consecutive Europa League titles in an achievement that will be a huge incentive ahead of their next season’s inclusion in the Champions League.
Unai Emery deserves a top club
It may come as a surprise to see all the managerial rumours somehow go around Unai Emery as Manchester United, Chelsea and all of the clubs do not think of him in their search for managers.
Emery has earned plaudits for all that he’s done with Sevilla in recent years and his managerial mastermind tactics were at display against Liverpool as well when he responded to Liverpool’s dominance by pushing his back line further up the field never allowing his rivals to build up on their lead.
A workaholic as he is presented back in Spain is a man dedicated to football and Sevilla, always giving his best for the club.
He has had a mixed season of on the road struggled in the recently closed La Liga campaign, but the Europa League triumph will be a timely push in the back for his club which will be fighting in the Champions League next year.
Tonight’s success is another glorious chapter in Emery’s career and a highlighted passage in his portfolio that deserves to be filed in a drawer of a major European club.
LIVERPOOL: Mignolet 6, Clyne 7, Lovren 6.5, Toure 7 (Benteke 6), Moreno 5.5 – Milner 6.5, Can 6 – Lallana 7 (Allen 6), Firmino 6 (Origi 6), Coutinho 6 – Sturridge 7.5
Unused subs: Henderson, Leiva, Skrtel, Ward
SEVILLA: Soria 7 – Mariano 8, Rami 6.5 (Kolodziejczak 6), Carrico 7, Escudero Palomo 6.5 – Krychowiak 7, N’Zonzi 7 – Coke 8.5, Banega 7 (Cristoforo 6.5), Vitolo 7 – Gameiro 7.5 (Iborra 6.5)
Unused subs: Konoplyanka, Llorente, Pareja, Rico
REFEREE: Jonas Eriksson