Brighton: Dunk 39′, Mitoma 90+2′
Liverpool: Elliott 30′
Before the game
It’s Captain Robbo for the Reds. The only change from the side that Chelsea have drawn is Trent Alexander-Arnold coming on for James Milner. Darwin Nunez is on the bench with the front three of Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo and Harvey Elliott starting the game. Moises Caicedo is notable in his absence from the Brighton side, who have changed their line-up four times since they recently faced Leicester in the Premier League.
The game starts at a good pace. Naby Keita and Mo create Liverpool’s first chance after about 3 minutes but Lewis Dunk clears them off the line. Trent delivers a forward drive that has been sorely lacking in the Chelsea game, with a signature cross at 6′ that lands at Salah’s feet, but he fumbles the ball away from goal.
Liverpool are showing more intent today and look better in possession but Brighton were organized in the middle of the pitch and didn’t allow them to advance.
At 14′ a forward thrust from Evan Ferguson forces Trent to make a goal-line clearance. Kaoru Mitoma looks feisty as ever, causing enough unpredictability to worry Alisson.
At 31′, Keita fired in a pass from deep midfield, which Salah received and aimed at Elliott, who was waiting near the penalty area. Elliott leads him with a right foot into the far corner – and GOAL!
Full-time referee certainly…. well never mind an unmarked Tariq Lamptey shoots from long range less than 10 minutes later and the ball deflects from dunk and past Alisson who tumbles the wrong way – GOAL for Brighton.
Half-time ends 1-1 with about 50-50 possession and Liverpool not conceding a goal.
The second half begins with Brighton attacking proactively and keeping Alisson busy. At 58′, Trent is replaced by James Milner to handle the Mitoma threat. Nonetheless, his threat continues and at 70′ he deftly passes the ball from wide to Solly March and Alisson is forced to make a desperate save and thwart it. Evan Ferguson took another close-range shot at 80′ and Konate tried to save it. Liverpool now has four yellow cards in the game. The tie ended in added time when Mitoma fired a beautifully elegant ball home from a set piece and sent Brighton through to the FA Cup fifth round.
Liverpool’s second loss to Brighton in 15 days meant the side rarely took control of the game like they had in previous years, relying heavily on counterattacks and turnovers to create chances. There were serious performances from Ibrahima Konate, Elliott and Alisson. As for the rest – Liverpool’s slump continues, nobody is really in sync, Salah lacks confidence and sharpness, the list goes on. Whistle on this season of “meh” already, ref.