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Five things we learned from Liverpool’s Europa League final defeat

Liverpool suffered Europa League final heartbreak in Basel and missed out on Champions League football for next season as they lost 3-1 to Sevilla.

Here, CaughtOffside examines five things that we learned about Jurgen Klopp’s side last night…

1) A new left-back is essential

Alberto Moreno Europa League final

SEE MORE: Sevilla 3-1 Liverpool: Reds miss out on Champions League after second-half collapse

As Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher put on Twitter before quickly deleting his post, according to The Independent, the Reds need to “sign a f****** left-back”.

Alberto Moreno’s double mistake within the first 20 seconds of the second half gifted Sevilla a way back into the game courtesy of Kevin Gameiro’s equaliser.

The Spaniard endured a torrid game from a defensive standpoint, and for not the first time this season. He is a liability and Liverpool must find an improvement.

READ MORE: Alberto Moreno: Liverpool legend tells Klopp to ‘sign a f**king left back’

2) Kolo Toure deserves a new contract

Kolo-Toure-Europa-League-final

Toure was, by some distance, Liverpool’s man of the match at St Jakob-Park. The veteran centre-back won 100% of his tackles, made 18 clearances and five blocks.

He stood up and showed the sort of backbone that was missing from many of his teammates when things started to go wrong. Eleven Toures and the Reds may have won.

The 35-year-old is out of contract in the summer, but last night’s display proved why Klopp should keep him. His attitude is exemplary and he can still do it on the pitch.

3) They are short of leaders

Liverpool Europa League final

Toure aside, Liverpool’s players looked like rabbits in the headlights after their early second-half setback. It was only 1-1 at this point, yet they sulked as if they were 3-0 down.

With captain Jordan Henderson on the bench, there was a noticeable lack of characters and leaders on the pitch as the Reds were weakly overwhelmed by Sevilla’s response.

When they had their backs against the wall previously in the competition, it was the Anfield crowd and atmosphere which led them. Sadly, the same spirit was lacking in the players.

4) Henderson is not fit

Jordan Henderson injury

Henderson could have made a difference in this regard if he ever made it onto the pitch, but the skipper remained seated as his manager used three other options from the bench.

That Joe Allen, who has been tipped to leave Liverpool this summer, as the Echo reports, was brought on ahead of him, is an indication that Henderson was not fit for the occasion.

The midfielder played 25 minutes against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday upon his return from a knee injury, but seemingly was not ready for a match of this magnitude and intensity.

His fitness is something that England manager Roy Hodgson must observe closely in the next couple of weeks to determine whether Henderson is capable of going to Euro 2016.

5) Coutinho is not top-class

Philippe-Coutinho-Europa-League-final

Liverpool fans have raved about Coutinho all season, but he barely showed up last night. The same could be said of Roberto Firmino, but his Brazilian friend was a bigger disappointment.

It was one of Coutinho’s quietest games in recent memory. Top-class players rise to the occasion, but the playmaker went missing when the Reds badly needed his sparkle in the second half.

You can win all of the individual awards you want – Coutinho won four at Liverpool’s end-of-season bash – but if you don’t perform in the big games, you don’t win the trophies that matter.

SEE ALSO:
Premier League 2015/16 season review: Best team, best player and biggest flop
Liverpool transfer news: Top three targets won’t change after missing out on Champions League
Video: Liverpool & Sevilla fans in vicious brawl ahead of Europa League final

More Stories Alberto Moreno Jordan Henderson Jurgen Klopp Kolo Toure Philippe Coutinho