Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted that his team fell apart in their 3-1 Europa League final loss to Sevilla as soon as striker Kevin Gameiro scored an equaliser in the first minute of the second half.
At that point, Liverpool had been leading through a fine 34th-minute Daniel Sturridge strike, but conceded two further goals to Sevilla captain Coke in the 64th and 70th minute.
Klopp, who has now lost five straight cup finals as a manager, admits his team lost their way following Gameiro’s gut-punch early in the second period.
“It’s obviously the first goal of Sevilla,” Klopp said. “In this moment we lost faith in our style of play. We changed from passing simply and quick, we lost our formation. Everything changed in this moment. It is not good to concede after one minute but the reaction was the problem.”
Klopp suggested that his team had not been favoured by Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson’s decision-making, but admitted that Sevilla, winners of the tournament three years in succession, had been deserved winners.
“Everybody told me about two handballs in the first half,” he said. “Today there were four decisions and they all went against us. To have consistency in our game we need a little more. It’s the first big final and we will use this experience. One day people will see Basel was a decisive moment for Liverpool FC.”
The German manager suggested his team might benefit next season from a lack of European football. Liverpool finished eighth in the Premier League, and Wednesday’s defeat in Basel meant that Klopp’s men missed their chance for direct qualification to the Champions League.
“No football on Wednesday and Thursday means we have time to train and we will come back stronger,” he said.
“This team will be a little bit different that’s clear,” Klopp said of next season. “We will do something with transfers, that’s clear.”
Klopp shrugged off his lamentable record in finals. He was beaten three times with previous club Borussia Dortmund and twice this season with Liverpool, first in the League Cup final to Manchester City and then in Basel.
“There are more important things than football in life,” he said. “I don’t think God planned that I have bad luck.”
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