An abysmal second half performance from Liverpool saw them concede the first half lead and eventually the match to Sevilla in Basel.
Klopp fielded the same side that featured against Villarreal in the second leg of Europa League Semi-final. The shape was 4-2-3-1 with Can as the deepest midfielder, Milner in the roaming play-maker role; Firmino, Lallana and Coutinho the front three in behind the striker Sturridge.
The plan was to press Sevilla in their own half and try to sneak out a mistake from their back-line.
Let’s take a look at the shape and what were the movements and how Liverpool bottled it in the second half of the game :-
Liverpool had a decent start to the game, they were little hesitant in possession but early chances went in the way of the Reds. Movement from Milner was good in that roaming play-maker position, the veteran again looked good on the ball in the first half with few neat touches and passing. In the second half, he struggled with his passing and overall impact of the game was not there.
Coutinho was struggling to get into the game. The Brazilian looked okay in patches but in overall scenario struggled a lot in impacting such a high-octane game. His pressing was not really threatening the opposition, he tucked himself centrally on more than few occasions resulting in Sevilla players to play wider from that left hand side.
While Coutinho tucked himself centrally, Moreno was exposed quite vulnerably for the Spanish side to attack from that side. The Spaniard never felt comfortable defending in that situation, he was easily bypassed and beaten in 1 v 1 situations. In the first half, Sevilla tried to exploit that area but Liverpool had Can or Coutinho sometimes tracking wider to cover him. But, in the second half, the left-back was left exposed 1 v 1 and he lost almost every battle with the opposition fullback, to be honest Moreno never dealt with the situation nicely. He got nutmegged so easily 70 seconds into the second half setting the tone to struggle for rest of the game.
Firmino and Lallana too struggled to make any significant impact in the game, they tried to press the Sevilla back-line but Sevilla played through them on more than few occasions which exposed Liverpool to say the least. Second Sevilla goal was the perfect example of them bypassing the Liverpool press and midfield with some intricate one touch passing to which Liverpool had no answer, likes of Can and Milner just backed off when there was a need of a crunching tackle or two.
To be very fair, Liverpool were just okay in the first and led through a Sturridge special, but come the second half, lack of leadership and some weaknesses that were exposed by Sevilla just derailed the Reds march and they never looked like getting any rhythm back. Precisely, Liverpool had two passing moves in entire second half from back to front. This stat just sums up all the events happened in that collapsing Liverpool second half.
Klopp refused to blame the players, but in all honesty, few of his players let their club and manager down by ordinary performances, Moreno struggled but Coutinho too had nothing of a game, by tucking himself centrally, he just increased the vulnerability of the left-back.
So, a pre-season with Klopp is what all Liverpool fans wanted and no European football next season means the German has a chance to build a team from the scratch and probably challenge for the title next season with less distractions and more team-building and trying to make his team play his own way.
One minor record to which Klopp should have an eye on, 5 losses for the German in his last 5 finals as manager( 2 DFB Pokal, 1 Champions League, 1 Capital One Cup and 1 Europa League final).
By Mizgan Ahmed on 19th May, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans