Europa League

Emery backs beleaguered Liverpool defender Moreno

Sevilla coach Unai Emery has defended Alberto Moreno after the Liverpool left-back endured a torrid second half during Wednesday’s Europa League final.

Emery’s men made history by winning the trophy for a third successive year with a stunning 3-1 comeback win at Basle’s St Jacob-Park – all the Liga side’s goals coming after half-time after Daniel Sturridge put Liverpool in front.

Playing against his former club, Moreno was culpable for Kevin Gameiro’s equaliser 17 seconds after the restart and he failed to recover his poise as Coke hit a brace for the rampant defending champions.

Emery coached Moreno as Sevilla began their Europa-League treble in 2014 before the full-back moved to Liverpool, and he praised the 23-year-old’s form this season.

“Alberto Moreno is playing a great season for Liverpool,” Emery told reporters.

“And what I have seen is he is playing at a level that he can go back to the Spanish national team.

“I always see the glass half-full because he has a great offensive ability and I see him as a great offensive player rather than being a poor defender.”

Emery also took time to bask in his decision to switch Coke from right-back to an advanced attacking role – one that paid handsome dividends.

“Everyone here, raise your hand if you haven’t criticised [Sevilla right-back] Mariano and Coke swapping,” he said.

“Thank God I don’t listen or pay attention to what’s said out of the club because otherwise I wouldn’t have done it and eventually it worked out pretty well.”

Sevilla will try to complete a memorable week by tackling the tall order of Liga champions Barcelona in Sunday’s Copa del Rey final.

Emery added: “Now have another final versus Barcelona on Sunday which is really exciting and we are very motivated.

“Many people [supporters] that couldn’t be here are looking forward to this final. It’ll be a huge challenge - it’s Barcelona.”

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