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Kaoru Mitoma scores last-gasp winner to send Reds crashing out of FA Cup

Brighton dumped holders Liverpool out of the FA Cup thanks to a brilliant 92nd minute winner from Kaoru Mitoma as the Seagulls ran out deserved 2-1 victors to earn progression to the fifth round of the competition.

The hosts, as expected, were without wantaway midfielder Moises Caicedo, who went public with his desire to leave after Arsenal had a £60m bid rejected on Friday. "We are ready to go forward without him," manager Roberto De Zerbi said post-match. "If we don't lose Caicedo we are ready to fight for Europe," he added.

The Reds went ahead when Mo Salah carved through the heart of the Brighton defence, highlighting Caicedo's obvious absence, to find the intelligent run of Harvey Elliott, who squirmed the ball beneath an onrushing Jason Steele (30).

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Brighton responded valiantly, restoring parity nine minutes later when Tariq Lamptey's long-range effort deflected fortuitously beyond a wrong-footed Allison via the boot of Lewis Dunk (39).

Jurgen Klopp attempted to force the issue midway through the second period, introducing James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Darwin Nunez, but spirited Brighton held firm, before firing the killer blow in second-half stoppage time.

Mitoma, outstanding all afternoon, had threatened Allison's goal on multiple occasions and was rewarded for his persistence in the dying embers of the game, shimmying through a crowd of players at the back post before rifling the winner into the roof of the net (90+2).

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The warning signs were there but they went unheeded by Liverpool's often lifeless backline.

Back at the scene of a 3-0 thumping a fortnight ago which Klopp described as the worst of his managerial career, the Reds were improved in patches, but powerless to prevent Mitoma's wonderful improvisation late on.

The Japanese international, who terrorised Trent Alexander-Arnold enough to warrant the full-back's withdrawal after just 59 minutes, had presented Solly March with the chance to tie up proceedings not long before his decisive strike.

Kaoru Mitoma charges forward with Trent Alexander-Arnold in pursuit
Sky Sports

A neat flick of the right boot found March on the move centrally, but he was met swiftly by the towering frame of Alisson, who sprawled to deny the winger before the rebound bounced the wrong side of the post.

March, incidentally, ended up in the back of the net - the ball did not.

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Undeterred, Mitoma continued to wreak havoc down the right before getting the break his performance deserved - bamboozling Joe Gomez as he controlled Pervis Estupinan's lofted cross and lashed into the net.

The dramatic nature of the winner - which required VAR to check Estupinan was onside when diverting the ball back across goal - prompted an explosion of noise inside the Amex Stadium as fans sung the name of their hero, while a dejected Klopp watched on helplessly from the touchline, wincing awkwardly at another show of shoddy defending.

Post credit: Sky Sports


Video credit: The Emirates FA Cup

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