Sevilla beat Liverpool to win third consecutive Europa League

Sevilla continued their reign as kings of the UEFA Europa League as a rousing second-half fightback proved too much for Liverpool at Basel’s St. Jakob-Park on Wednesday.

A 3-1 victory secured the La Liga club an unprecedented third straight title in the competition – and a record-extending fifth overall.

Sevilla were in their third successive final whereas Liverpool had not appeared in a European showpiece for nine years – yet there was little sign of nerves from the English newcomers.

Emre Can forced the first save of the evening from David Soria before 10 minutes had been played, then Daniel Carriço acrobatically cleared a Daniel Sturridge header off the line.

Roared on by a fair portion of the crowd, Liverpool kept coming, with Soria quickly off his line to block another Sturridge effort. The Sevilla goalkeeper was helpless in the 35th minute, however, as Roberto Firmino found Sturridge again inside the penalty area; the striker supplied a sumptuous finish with the outside of his left foot and Liverpool were in front.

Jurgen Klopp’s side piled on the pressure in a bid to extend their lead, Carriço making another important block to deny Adam Lallana before the break. Sevilla were clinging on – yet 17 seconds into the second half they were level.

A weak headed clearance from their former full-back Alberto Moreno gave Mariano Ferreira an opening and the winger burst into the penalty box before crossing low for Kevin Gameiro in space to notch his eighth UEFA Europa League goal of the season from a metre out.

The goalscorer was then thwarted by Kolo Toure’s sliding tackle as he threatened to burst clear and then mis-hit a volley straight at Simon Mignolet having been left unmarked.

Sevilla, however, would make their dominance count. Vitolo and Éver Banega played a one-two on the edge of the area before Coke burst on to the ball to curl brilliantly beyond Mignolet.

Six minutes later, the ball broke for the Sevilla midfielder inside the box and once more the finish was unerring, ensuring the trophy would head to Seville yet again.

Klopp identified poor defending by Liverpool left-back and former Sevilla player, Moreno, as the turning point.

“Obviously the first goal had a big influence on our game,” said the Liverpool manager, who has now lost his last five cup finals and will be without European football at Anfield next season.

Sevilla coach, Unai Emery, maintained his record of never having lost a Europa League tie and attempted to absolve Moreno of blame for his team’s crucial equaliser.

“Alberto Moreno is playing a great season for Liverpool and, from what I have seen, he is playing at a level that he can go back to the Spanish national team,” Emery said. “I always see the glass half-full because Mariano has a great offensive ability and I see him as a great offensive player rather than it being poor defending.”