End of Liverpool’s FA Cup title defence; Reynolds at Wrexham

Liverpool became the latest top club to exit the FA Cup as the defending champions conceded a goal second minute of stoppage time to lose 2-1 at Brighton in the fourth round on Sunday.

Japan winger Kaoru Mitoma produced brilliant skill for the winner as he faked a shot to fool two defenders and then drove a close-range finish into the roof of the net. It earned Brighton a win from behind, which backed up a 3-0 thrashing of Liverpool in the Premier League two weeks ago.

Liverpool came close to winning a quadruple of major trophies last season, triumphing in both domestic cups, losing the Champions League final to Real Madrid and finishing second to Manchester City in the Premier League by one point. It’s only January but the Reds are shut out of the FA Cup and League Cup, ninth in the league and their only realistic chance at silverware this season is in the Champions League – where a knockout clash final against Madrid awaits next month.

“We have to start winning games – easy to say but hard to do,” said Liverpool defender Andy Robertson. “This season has been far from good enough.

“I feel sorry for the fans, the way we put on a show for them. We let them down again.

Premier League leaders Arsenal were knocked out by Manchester City on Friday, joining nine other top-flight clubs – including Chelsea and Newcastle – who were ousted in the third round.

Brighton were without Moises Caicedo after the Ecuadorian midfielder publicly declared his desire to leave amid reported interest from Arsenal and Chelsea.

And it was a closer game than in the league, with Harvey Elliott’s 30th-minute opener for Liverpool canceled out by a finish from Brighton defender Lewis Dunk nine minutes later. Dunk said he knew little about his finish, which came from a speculative Tariq Lamptey shot from outside the area.

Mitoma, who played for Japan at the World Cup, is proving to be a revelation in his first season at Brighton, scoring or scoring in eight of the team’s last 11 games.

“He came out of nowhere,” Dunk said. “We’re just lucky to have him in our squad right now.”


Wrexham – a fifth-tier side owned by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney – face second-tier Sheffield United in the fourth round later.

Reynolds was pictured arriving at the racetrack for the match.


Stevenage was unable to replicate his third-round exploits.

The fourth-tier side who claimed one of the most stunning wins of the last 64 – beating Premier League side Aston Villa away – were beaten 3-1 by second-tier Stoke.


Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80


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