BASEL, SWITZERLAND - Wednesday, May 18, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp looks dejected as Sevilla win 3-1 during the UEFA Europa League Final at St. Jakob-Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Not a final that we should have lost” – Klopp reflects on Europa League defeat

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool’s defeat in the Europa League final to Sevilla two months ago is one which is difficult for him to accept.

The 2-1 defeat to Spanish side Sevilla was the Reds’ second cup final defeat last season, but much harder to accept than the League Cup final defeat to Man City – with Champions League football having been the prize on offer in Basel.

“Of course I’ve had a lot of thoughts about this,” Klopp told reporters this week. “Tt still feels bad.”

Liverpool were 1-0 up at half-time thanks to Daniel Sturridge‘s excellent goal, and seemingly on their way to a first European trophy in 11 years and a return to the Champions League.

But Klopp’s side were stunned by an equaliser just 18 seconds into the second-half and never recovered from it.

“In the second half, 18 seconds in was too soon,” Klopp reflects.

“I’ve thought a lot about half-time but there wasn’t anything too special that I could highlight – that we were not too sure about the game or something like this.

“We knew it was only half-time and there was still a lot of work to be done but then what happened, happened.”

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - Wednesday, May 18, 2016: Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet looks dejected as Sevilla score the first equalising goal during the UEFA Europa League Final at St. Jakob-Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s second-half display was abject, lacking in any of the qualities Klopp had installed in his months prior to the final.

“When you watch it again you see that something broke at that moment. Different players had no weapons any more. They had no power and no confidence,” says the boss.

“You saw that. We went too deep in a lot of positions and we were not close enough to the challenges.

“All of it was not too good but it was, of course, about the intensity that we had had on the way to the final. We’d had to over-perform one or two times, we had to play very special games and we’d had a lot of games.

The final was Liverpool’s 63rd game of a long season and Klopp wonders if fatigue played its part – but won’t accept that as an excuse.

“We’d tried everything to have fresh legs for the final, but none of this is an excuse because this was not a final that we should have lost but we lost and that’s the truth.”

Klopp had rotated his squad in the lead-up to the final, making wholesale changes in the league games. Next season promises to be different, with no European involvement.

FLEETWOOD, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 13, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before a friendly match against Fleetwood Town at Highbury Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“You have to take the right thoughts from it and that’s what we’ll try to do but that’s not easy because you can’t bring all of this up in the first meeting and say: ‘Look, I hope you had a wonderful holiday, but I want to tell you the second half in Basel was not so good’. That wouldn’t make sense.

“It’s an experience, one that you don’t need, but we will get on with it.

“We had no luck in the game. Sevilla had a few moments in the first half when they needed a bit of luck and they had it, but it’s over and it doesn’t feel as bad now as it did at the time.”

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