Liverpool 1-3 Sevilla: Second-half surge hands Spaniards fifth crown
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 19/05/16 7:57am
Coke's double handed Sevilla their fifth Europa League crown after a 3-1 win over Liverpool at St Jakob-Park in Basel.
Daniel Sturridge gave Liverpool the lead 10 minutes before the break in fine fashion, finding the corner of the net with the outside of the boot from just inside the area as the Premier League side dominated the first half.
But Sevilla were level 18 seconds into the second half through Kevin Gameiro, who slotted home from close range from Mariano's cross.
Coke put Sevilla ahead on 64 minutes, curling home superbly from the edge of the box, before the midfielder bagged a second six minutes later after the ball fell kindly to him in the area off the boot of Philippe Coutinho.
The defeat means Liverpool miss the chance of competing in the Champions League next season, and European competition altogether, while Jurgen Klopp remains in search of his first European trophy.
Sevilla, in contrast, secured their third straight Europa League crown and won the competition for a fifth time in the last 10 years.
Klopp named the same side that beat Villarreal 3-0 in the second leg of the semi-final, starting England striker Sturridge up front.
And it was Sturridge who had the first chance of the game, seeing his header from a tight angle on the left cleared from under the crossbar by Daniel Carrico.
Liverpool should have had a penalty moments later after Carrico looked to have handled in the area as Roberto Firmino looked to touch the ball past him, but Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson waved play on.
Sturridge then forced a save from David Soria at an acute angle after Adam Lallana's through ball, before Gameiro's acrobatic effort from eight yards went just wide of Simon Mingolet's right-hand post after Liverpool had failed to clear a cross.
Sturridge wasn't to be denied on 35 minutes, putting Liverpool ahead with a goal worthy of winning any final. Picking the ball up 20 yards out to the left of the penalty area from Coutinho's square pass, Sturridge's shot with the outside of his left boot flew into the corner past Soria.
Liverpool then piled on the pressure looking for a second before half-time, first coming close through Lallana, whose effort from inside the area was blocked by Carrico.
Dejan Lovren then had the ball in the net from a corner, but the referee's assistant ruled the effort out after Sturridge was adjudged to have infringed with the goalkeeper in an offside position.
Sturridge then got the slightest touch on Nathaniel Clyne's superb ball across the face of goal before the break, but it wasn't enough to direct it goalwards as Sevilla survived again.
Liverpool would live to rue their missed chances after the break, as Sevilla fought back with three unanswered goals.
The Spanish side were back on level terms directly after the restart through Gameiro, who finished from close range after good work from Mariano, who beat Alberto Moreno too easily.
Gameiro was then put through on goal by Ever Banega, but the impressive Kolo Toure tracked back superbly to snuff him out as Sevilla's top scorer was about to pull the trigger
Mignolet then made a vital save from Gameiro's badly hit volley from eight yards after Steven N'Zonzi had easily won a header inside the area, but Sevilla were soon ahead.
With Liverpool stretched, Sevilla's fine build-up play allowed Vitolo to lay the ball on for Coke, who curled home into the far bottom corner past Mignolet from just outside the box.
It was 3-1 with 20 minutes to go as Clyne's clearance fortuitously deflected off the boot of Coutinho and into the path of the unmarked Coke, who beat Mignolet from 10 yards despite the Belgian getting a touch on the ball.
There were heavy protests from both the Liverpool players and Klopp after the referee's assistant put his flag up to signal for offside, but the final touch had come off Coutinho as Coke picked up the ball in an offside position.
Christian Benteke and Divock Origi were brought on for Liverpool in an attempt to get back in the game, but Sevilla held on.