Blame me for Liverpool Euro crash - Jurgen Klopp
Manager Jürgen Klopp took responsibility for Liverpool's second half collapse in the Europa League final as they crashed 3-1 to Spanish side Sevilla in Basel last night.
Daniel Sturridge's wonderful goal had given Klopp's side control of the game but Kévin Gameiro's equaliser just 17 seconds after the break changed the course of events.
From that moment Liverpool's confidence drained and Sevilla's domination became absolute.Their fast, aggressive play was rewarded with victory thanks to further strikes from their captain, Coke.
It means that Liverpool will not feature in European competition next season and Sevilla progress to the Champions League instead after winning the competition three years in a row.
Klopp was disappointed with the reaction to Gameiro's strike - a consequence of a succession of mistakes made by Alberto Moreno, the former Sevilla left back.
"The first goal is not the problem," he said. "What happened after that is the problem. We lost faith completely in our style of play, we lost shape and we were nervous in defence.
"That shows our development is not as good as hoped. We have to carry on and use this experience, I am sure we will be strong. It is disappointment and frustration tonight.
"We are responsible for not being in the Champions League next season but now we have to use the time. We have to use it to train more and prepare more.
Klopp added: “It’s not about the size of the squad or how many players we have, it’s about using the time for training to get better, using this experience and I promise everyone, we will use it. We will use it. We will come back stronger, 100 per cent.
“The guys tried everything. We didn’t get it but we will come back.
“I’m responsible for this performance too — there’s no criticism allowed for my side. We couldn’t reach our level, and it’s my job to help the boys to see there’s opportunity, to not feel the pressure too much. It’s my job to help the team to react better. So, I can improve a lot.”
Unai Emery, the Sevilla manager, had instructed his players to “write history”.
This was his third Europa League triumph in succession.
“Maybe others should analyse what we do so well,” Emery said.
“I have my own theory, perhaps the level in Spanish football is very good but competitive also. It has been proven that Spanish teams compete passionately and in this circumstance they can win.”
The result means, indeed, that Klopp’s own run extends — he has now lost five cup finals in a row. “I know there are bigger problems in life,” he concluded. “But right now, it doesn’t feel like it.”
Liverpool captain James Milner (right) admitted that coping with Sevilla’s power and pace after the interval was too big an ask for his side.
“We’ve shown that character time and time again in this competition, but here we couldn’t do that,” he said. “That’s disappointing. When you leave yourselves too much to do one too many times, it’s pretty difficult to do it time and time again.
“It will take a long time to get over this but we have to regroup, take what belief we can and learn from what we can.
“We’ve been to two finals this year and not managed to get over the line, so we need to learn and make sure that next time we get there we finish the job.
“We gave a sloppy goal away in the first couple of seconds in the second-half and we never really got back.”
According to Milner, Liverpool will leave Basel with the regret of knowing that their performance on the grand occasion was not to the level they know they can reach.
He added: “We’ve shown that we’re good enough to win it, but we haven’t on the night that it mattered most.
“It took us a while to get into the game. I thought once we got into the game we played pretty well — we got the goal and I don’t think they caused us too many problems. Second-half, we know we never started at all.
“It’s devastating, but I think the most disappointing thing is that we didn’t show what we’re about. (We) didn’t play anywhere near our abilities.”