Liverpool 1-3 Sevilla: Reds falter at the final hurdle as Spaniards seal third straight Europa League crown

There was no fairytale end to Jürgen Klopp's first season as Liverpool manager, as the Reds lost out 3-1 to Sevilla in the Europa League final in Basel.

Daniel Sturridge did give Klopp's men a first half lead, but that was cancelled out by Kevin Gaimero just 17 seconds into the second half. Liverpool never really recovered from that point on, Sevilla captain Coke netting a brace to secure the win.

Tentative openings

Although Sevilla had more of the ball in the early minutes, with Liverpool giving away a number of fouls, it was the Reds who threatened more on goal early on.

Emre Can had a curling shot routinely saved by David Soria, whilst Daniel Sturridge had a goalbound header hooked away by Ever Banega, the Englishman getting his head on the end of Nathaniel Clyne's cross.

There was a slight penalty appeal as Roberto Firmino's dinked ball into the penalty area struck the hand of Adil Rami, but it would have been a harsh one. 

Sevilla eventually made inroads towards the Liverpool goal at the other end, the main threat coming unsurprisingly from star striker Kevin Gaimero. The ball was flicked on towards the Frenchman from a corner, with an ambitious overhead kick his preferred method of shot, but unfortunately for him it sailed just wide.

Sturridge screamer the catalyst for brief spell of domination 

With clear cut chances few and far between, it looked like it would take something special to open the scoring, and that was certainly what Daniel Sturridge provided on the 35 minute mark. 

Taking the ball from Roberto Firmino on the left hand side, around 25 yards out, Sturridge expertly used Alberto Moreno's run down the wing as a dummy. With full-back Mariano moving across slightly to compensate for Moreno's run, Sturridge used the extra room to beautifully curl the ball across goal into the bottom right hand corner, via the outside of his left boot.

Sturridge's opener was a beauty (photo: Getty Images)
Sturridge's opener was a beauty (photo: Getty Images)

Following that goal, there was a 10 minute period leading up to half-time where the Spanish side were completely on the rails. Liverpool thought they'd scored a second as Dejan Lovren headed in from a corner, however it was ruled out for Sturridge being in an offside position - blocking the 'keeper's view.

That wasn't the end of their attacking salvo, though, with Nathaniel Clyne's low cross somehow avoiding both Sturridge and Firmino in the area, as the ball dropped to the right-back from James Milner's sliced attempt at a volley from outside the area.

Reds pinned back at the start of the second half

However, if the end of the first 45 was all Liverpool, the entire second half was something completely different.

It took just 17 seconds for the Spanish side to level up after the restart, and from then on it was all their own. Alberto Moreno, after having a poor clearance intercepted, was nutmeged by Mariano, who slid the ball across the box to Gaimero for a tap in.

Gaimero tapped in just 17 seconds after the restart (photo: Getty Images)
Gaimero tapped in just 21 seconds after the restart (photo: Getty Images)

Gaimero could have scored a hat-trick within the first 15 minutes of the second half, running through on goal before being halted by a superb Kolo Toure tackle. Minutes later, he found himself unmarked at the back post, but could only shoot straight at Mignolet. 

Coke double delivers killer blow

The warning signs were there for Liverpool, but they didn't respond to them, falling behind on 64 minutes. There wasn't really any defensive mistakes to point out that time, with superb quick passing from Sevilla allowing them to sweep through the midfield, captain Coke providing the finishing touch with a superb first time curling effort into the corner of the net. 

The third came after, a knife in the proverbial coffin. Ever Banega's shot bounced off Moreno's foot towards Coke. Free in space just yards from goal, Mignolet had no chance as the ball was swept past him. There were appeas for offside, unused substitute Martin Skrtel managing to get himself booked during the protests, but the goal was correctly allowed.

There was no recovery from that point on, Sevilla keeping the ball well and defending any attack that was thrown at them, sealing the trophy for a third successive year.