The first half of the UEFA Europa League final was decidedly Liverpool, aside from some frustrating refereeing decisions that deprived the Reds of at least one penalty kick.
The Reds sliced and diced Sevilla, taking a 1-0 lead into halftime and threatening to end the La Liga side’s two-year reign as UEL champs.
But the second leg saw Sevilla equalize within 15 seconds of kickoff, and the Reds never recovered. Liverpool barely looked a threat at any point in the final 45 minutes, and Sevilla waltzed away with a 3-1 win.
Manager Jurgen Klopp is taking the blame.
“I don’t expect the belief, they need to have it. We could not reach our level. It is now my job to not let the players feel the pressure too much.
“We saw it in the game after they scored the first goal. It changed. A lot of people may have thought we could change it again. The goals were too easy.
“In this moment, I am responsible for this performance. There is no criticism and I have spoken to my players. Nobody in the stadium believed, I thought we could change it but it was not enough.
Klopp has now lost five straight finals, but you have to get to five finals to lose them. Still, Liverpool will rue a season without European football that came despite having a pair of kicks at qualifying through tournament finals. James Milner is stung, and you can bet Klopp is fuming.