May 192016

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Liverpool collapse as Sevilla win Europa League

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp took responsibility for his side’s 3-1 Europa League final defeat by Sevilla – and said they would come back stronger.

The Reds led at the interval only to suffer a second-half collapse as Sevilla became the first team to win the competition three seasons in a row.

The defeat means Liverpool will not play any European football next season.

“It was 50-60% of our usual quality and we have to accept that,” said Klopp, who took charge at Anfield in October.

“I am responsible for this performance. I promise everybody we will use it and come back stronger.”

Liverpool were on course to secure Champions League football – on offer to the winners of the competition this year – when Daniel Sturridge’s magnificent strike with the outside of his left foot gave them the interval lead.

But the Reds conceded three goals in the space of 24 second-half minutes – Kevin Gameiro netting 17 seconds after the interval, before Coke struck twice.

More than 10,000 Liverpool fans travelled to Basel to support their club

“There is no criticism and I have spoken to my players,” added Klopp.

“What I think about not being in the Champions League is that we have to use the time.

“It is not about the size of the squad, it is about using the time in training to get better.”

‘Experience was key’

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson was frustrated by the Reds’ second-half collapse.

“Experience was key after conceding,” said the 1984 European Cup winner, who was part of BBC Radio 5 live’s team in Basel.

“Where was the central defender or captain saying ‘circle the wagons for 20 minutes – we do not concede and we get ourselves back into game’? That is something Liverpool just didn’t do.

“They had one stonewall penalty in the first half but when you go in 1-0 up at half-time in a cup final, what is the first thing anyone says in the dressing room?

“You make sure you don’t concede in the first 10 or 20 minutes. What did Liverpool do? They conceded in the first 17 seconds.”

‘I’ve lost count of Moreno’s mistakes’

Left-back Alberto Moreno was at fault for Sevilla’s first goal, and Lawrenson was also critical of the 23-year-old’s performance.

“Yet again Moreno, who used to play for Sevilla, has made a massive mistake,” he said.

Liverpool signed Alberto Moreno from Sevilla for £12m in August 2014

“I’ve lost count of how many mistakes this guy has made.

“It’s all very good pouring forward but the clue is in the title – left-back. Try defending occasionally. Moreno has made mistakes all season – basic errors.

“Where was he for Villarreal’s goal the other week? He was trying to score a goal at the other end.”

Lawrenson said former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who was sacked in October, had to share the blame for not strengthening the left-back area during his tenure.

He added: “Liverpool didn’t have, by the end of August, another player who could play left-back unless they moved Nathaniel Clyne from the right.

“Jose Enrique was never going to play. I’m sorry, Brendan Rodgers gets the blame for me.”

‘Sturridge going nowhere – except on holiday’

Lawrenson expects a summer of change at Anfield, but expects Sturridge and Brazilian duo Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho to stay.

Daniel Sturridge is the first English player to score in the Europa League/Uefa Cup final since Robbie Fowler in 2001

“I’d imagine Liverpool have spoken to agents and will have an indication of whether players are coming,” he said.

“If you are in a room with Klopp then I’d think it was hard to say no to him. This summer’s transfer window is going to be the biggest ever in the Premier League in terms of money spent.

“Firmino, Coutinho and Sturridge are not going anywhere this summer – other than on holiday.

“Klopp knew within two weeks of taking over he needed to bring in players.

“Why didn’t he address it in January? He probably did but could not get the right personnel in.”

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May 192016

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Jimmy Hill: A man for all seasons

A tribute to Jimmy Hill, who passed away in December 2015 having made a remarkable impact on football and football culture. His career was unique, taking in virtually every role in the sport, from the pitch to the dugout, the boardroom to the television studio.

After retiring from playing, Hill became manager of Coventry City where he pioneered new ways of developing the club’s image and its relationship with fans. He was similarly forward-thinking when he moved into influential roles in broadcasting and went on to become an iconic and long-running presenter of Match of the Day.

But perhaps Hill’s greatest legacy was his successful campaign to abolish the maximum wage, revolutionising the careers and prospects of footballers in the early 1960s and paving the way for the multimillionaire global stars of today.

The programme features contributions from former footballers, managers, broadcasters and Hill’s family.

This is a live BBC One stream starting at 22:45 BST.

Available to UK users only.

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Liverpool 1-3 Sevilla

 Posted by at 5:12 AM
May 192016
Sevilla become the first team to win a major European competition three years in a row since Bayern Munich won the European Cup three times between 1974 and 1976

Liverpool suffered a dramatic second-half collapse as Sevilla claimed the Europa League for the third season in succession with a superb comeback.

Jurgen Klopp’s side looked on course to secure the prize of Champions League football – on offer to the winners of the competition – when Daniel Sturridge’s magnificent strike with the outside of his left foot gave them the interval lead.

The good work was wrecked in the first 17 seconds of the second half when Kevin Gameiro turned in Mariano Ferreira’s cross to put Sevilla level.

Liverpool, who were denied a clear first-half penalty when Sevilla’s Daniel Carrico clearly handled as Roberto Firmino tried to weave past him, never recovered.

Coke’s fine 64th-minute finish confirmed Sevilla’s superiority and he added a contentious third from close range, which was initially disallowed but was then given as Liverpool slumped to their second final defeat this season after losing to Manchester City in the Capital One Cup.

Jurgen Klopp has lost each of his past five finals as a manager

Klopp’s plans suffer huge blow

Klopp has revived Liverpool for much of this season – indeed some of their fans were still hoping for the sort of comeback that saw them score three goals in the last 20 minutes to beat Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-final – but this defeat is a major setback to his summer strategy.

Liverpool had so much riding on this game. The lure of Champions League football, set alongside the chance to play for Klopp and at Anfield, would have completed an attractive package to set before any potential signings.

Now they cannot offer any sort of European football as they ended well beaten here in another night of disappointment for Klopp, who has now lost five successive finals with Dortmund and Liverpool.

Liverpool will still attract players of high class, but a crucial plank in their transfer strategy has been removed by this defeat.

Sevilla scored with three of their four shots on target in this match.

Liverpool’s weakness exposed

Klopp’s spirit of renewal papered over some of the cracks in the Liverpool squad he inherited but they were brutally exposed by Sevilla’s second half masterclass.

Liverpool were fragile mentally after the equaliser and it was quite simply too easy to get behind their defensive unit, with Alberto Moreno’s shocking performance demonstrating once again he is a weakness that must be addressed.

Klopp’s problems were compounded by the failure of his creative players to put their stamp on the game. Philippe Coutinho barely had the ball while Firmino was subdued and substituted.

Sturridge shows his class

In one moment on 35 minutes, Sturridge showed the class that demonstrates how much he means to Liverpool and he may yet mean to England at Euro 2016.

Taking the ball on the angle of the penalty area, he produced a moment of instinctive genius, curling a left-foot finish past Sevilla keeper David Soria into the corner.

Daniel Sturridge is the first English player to score in the Europa League/UEFA Cup final since Robbie Fowler in 2001

Sturridge is arguably England’s most gifted striker but has been overtaken by Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy while he has suffered injuries.

If he stays fit, England manager Roy Hodgson will have a serious dilemma at Euro 2016. Will Sturridge yet put captain Wayne Rooney under pressure for his place in France?

Liverpool’s rough luck

The better side won this Europa League final. Once they got on terms, Sevilla were simply in a different class, but how different it might have been had that penalty been given when Carrico handled under pressure from Firmino, along with one or two other acceptable claims.

Liverpool could point to those but ultimately they ended a beaten and bedraggled side, a Europa League that promised so much ended in anti-climax and disappointment.

Liverpool have not won a European title since winning the Champions League in 2005

The stats you need to know

  • Sevilla have won five of the past 11 Uefa Cup/Europa League campaigns.
  • Daniel Sturridge has scored six times in his past nine starts for Liverpool in all competitions.
  • Kevin Gameiro has scored seven goals in his past six Europa League games.
  • Coke scored his first two Europa League goals after 24 games without one.
  • English teams have lost three of their past four Uefa Cup/Europa League finals (Middlesbrough in 2006, Fulham in 2010 and Liverpool in 2016. Chelsea won in 2013).
  • Daniel Carrico and Vitolo have been in the starting line-up in each of Sevilla’s past three Europa League finals (2014, 2015 and 2016).
Dejan Lovren could not contain his emotions at the end

What they said

Liverpool captain James Milner: “We never started in the second half and it is devastating. We didn’t show anywhere near our ability and that is the biggest disappointment.

“We were ready, we made sure we said the right things at half-time. We gave a sloppy goal away and never got back into the game.

“The lineman’s flag went up for the third goal but the referee gave it the other way. It is nothing to do with the referee, it is about us. We didn’t do it on the night that mattered.

“We didn’t think about the Champions League, it was about winning this trophy. We didn’t manage to get over the line. It is a double blow not to be in Europe next season. We got into two finals and lost both, next time we need to finish the job.

Sevilla defender Daniel Carrico: “It is three seasons in a row now and it is our competition. We have won and our star Antonio Puerta is up there, he is helping us.

“Liverpool played a good first half but the manager told us we need to change the game, we needed to believe and we did what he said. Scoring easily in the second half helped us and Liverpool did not have any chances.

“Next season we will be in the Champions League and it is another challenge for us. We will see what happens next season but it is now time to celebrate.”

Live Text

Match ends, Liverpool 1, Sevilla 3.

Second Half ends, Liverpool 1, Sevilla 3.

Attempt blocked. Vicente Iborra (Sevilla) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sergio Escudero.

Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool).

Vitolo (Sevilla) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution, Sevilla. Sebastián Cristóforo replaces Éver Banega.

Attempt missed. Vitolo (Sevilla) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Timothée Kolodziejczak.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Grzegorz Krychowiak.

Substitution, Sevilla. Vicente Iborra replaces Kevin Gameiro.

Foul by Christian Benteke (Liverpool).

Mariano (Sevilla) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Sevilla. Éver Banega tries a through ball, but Kevin Gameiro is caught offside.

Corner, Sevilla. Conceded by Alberto Moreno.

Attempt blocked. Coke (Sevilla) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kevin Gameiro.

Foul by Alberto Moreno (Liverpool).

Coke (Sevilla) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Christian Benteke (Liverpool).

Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Offside, Sevilla. Vitolo tries a through ball, but Coke is caught offside.

Mariano (Sevilla) is shown the yellow card.

Substitution, Liverpool. Christian Benteke replaces Kolo Touré.

Attempt blocked. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Joe Allen.

Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Alberto Moreno following a corner.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Vitolo.

Substitution, Sevilla. Timothée Kolodziejczak replaces Adil Rami because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Adil Rami (Sevilla) is shown the yellow card.

Delay in match Adil Rami (Sevilla) because of an injury.

Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Daniel Carriço (Sevilla).

Corner, Sevilla. Conceded by Kolo Touré.

Substitution, Liverpool. Joe Allen replaces Adam Lallana.

Divock Origi (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Divock Origi (Liverpool).

Adil Rami (Sevilla) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal! Liverpool 1, Sevilla 3. Coke (Sevilla) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

Attempt missed. Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Éver Banega following a set piece situation.

Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Roberto Firmino.

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May 182016

Tweeting explosions, biting memes and vines looping the exquisite farce of the Premier League soap opera – the twists, turns, highs and lows of the 2015-16 season were captured brilliantly on social media.

By bringing together some of the best content we remember the moments that made us ‘ROFL’ or ‘SMH’ or both.

(That’s ‘roll on the floor laughing’ or ‘shake my head’ for anyone over 30).

So enjoy, relive and share.

The overachievers

It would be a folly to start anywhere else but Leicester City.

The naysayers declared there was more chance of finding Elvis alive than the Foxes winning the title. In fact the odds for both occurrences were the same – a generous 5,000-1.

The bookies forked out an estimated £20m on Leicester’s achievement, now if “The King” reappears that would definitely have them all shook up.

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Leicester City 5,000-1? So are all these things…

One Leicester fan who should keep his hip swinging to a minimum at the start of next season is Gary Lineker.

This is what the Match of the Day presenter tweeted in December:

And this is a mock up of what it could look like (a bit generous perhaps):

Week after week Leicester and their players were among the top trending topics, culminating in the explosion that occurred on 2 May moments after Tottenham’s dreams were obliterated.

Hitting a peak: This graph shows that between 21:56 and 21:57 there were 140,261 tweets about ‘Leicester’

By this point the ‘Vardy Party’, which will undoubtedly become a club night in the city, was well and truly under way at the striker’s home.

England player Jamie Vardy, or was it his lookalike, partied like it was 1999 (RIP Prince) with as many of the squad he could cram into his… eight-bedroom £1m mansion.

Vardy’s fiancee Becky Nicholson grabbed a snap of the celebrations then admitted she had to clear up the mess after the team-mates started to leave at 04:30 BST

It was perhaps fitting that captain and tattoo parlour aficionado Wes Morgan, having performed heroics throughout the campaign, provided one of the moments of the social season when he was dragged along the kitchen-come-dancefloor.