A couple of Unai Emery masterstrokes, Kevin Gameiro's perfect sense of timing, Sevilla's solid but fluid midfield, and the benefits of faith and experience.
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Unai Emery's decision to push Coke into midfield with Mariano Ferreira slotting in at right-back was a ploy tried and tested with some success against Shakhtar Donetsk in the semi-finals. It worked like a dream in Basel. It was Mariano's fine run and cross that laid on the first for Kevin Gameiro, and then Coke took centre stage – literally, in fact, as further midfield cover from Grzegorz Krychowiak allowed him to cut infield and score twice in a game for the first time in his career.
While the right side of Sevilla's defence was well-stocked, Sergio Escudero was isolated on the left flank for much of the first half and Liverpool, through Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino, smelled blood. Emery acted decisively at the break, giving more defensive responsibility to Vitolo without stymying the 26-year-old's attacking verve too much – it was Vitolo's wonderful run that led to Coke's first of the night. With also Krychowiak filling in when needed, Sevilla's weak spot became a source of strength.
Gameiro's perfect timing
According to the well-worn book of football adages, just before half-time is a perfect time to score. Seconds after the restart could well be even better: Kevin Gameiro's goal changed everything. Liverpool lost their way, with Klopp admitting that his players simply never regained confidence and composure. Sevilla on the other hand were immediately transformed. As the half-time whistle went they had been rocking; once Gameiro scored they were rolling.
Sevilla's midfield shield
Steven N'Zonzi started the match as if it was merely a continuation of his last outing against Liverpool – a 6-1 romp on the last day of last season when he wore the red and white of Stoke City. He and Krychowiak stamped their authority on proceedings and starved Liverpool's creative forces of a supply line for large swathes of the game. They were disciplined, had a great mutual understanding and showed an uncanny positional sense. Liverpool's shape deserted them after Gameiro scored and Sevilla's midfield enforcers made sure they never got it back.
Many sides would have panicked when they went in for the interval trailing and under the cosh. But Sevilla are old hands at this. There are not many survivors of their last two triumphs but those that remain came to the fore in the second half: Coke, Gameiro, Vitolo, Daniel Carriço. And, of course, the fans. They never doubted.