Holder Liverpool was knocked out of the FA Cup after losing 2-1 at Brighton & Hove Albion in the fourth round on Sunday as Kaoru Mitoma struck the winning goal in stoppage time.
Harvey Elliott put Liverpool ahead, Lewis Dunk equalised before half-time and the score stayed at 1-1 until Mitoma found the net in the 92nd minute with a fine finish.
It was the second time Brighton defeated Liverpool this month, having also beaten Juergen Klopp’s side 3-0 in a Premier League game.
“Unbelievable ending. Sometimes you’ve got to win a game like that. We weren’t at our best today. Nowhere near it. But we ground it out against a top side and got the win,” Dunk told ITV Sport.
“We feel like we can beat anyone on our best days and we showed here we can beat them on our not-so-good days. We’ve got everything in our squad to keep pushing on and hopefully we can go further in the competition.”
Earlier, Liverpool’s teenage midfielder Elliott put the side ahead in the 30th minute with a low shot into the far corner following a clever pass from Mohamed Salah.
Brighton equalised nine minutes later when Dunk got a flick on a long-range effort from Tariq Lamptey which deflected into the goal, with goalkeeper Alisson Becker wrong-footed.
Elliott, who also scored in Liverpool’s win in the third- round replay, could have made it 2-1 before halftime as he latched on to Cody Gakpo’s pass but Lamptey made a superb last-ditch tackle.
Liverpool had another chance on the hour mark when Salah connected with a wonderful pass from James Milner but the Egypt forward chose to whip in a cross instead of taking a shot and Brighton keeper Jason Steele easily blocked it.
The tie looked set for a replay when Brighton’s Solly March missed a golden opportunity to score in the 71st minute when he failed to beat the onrushing Alisson from close range after Mitoma set him up with a brilliant low cross.
But Mitoma took things into his own hands, scoring a superb goal following a free kick as he controlled the ball on the half volley, dummied and rifled it home.
It was another disappointing result for Liverpool which has struggled with form and injuries this season and is ninth in the Premier League standings.
“This season has been nowhere near good enough. At the start of the year, we wanted a fresh start but that hasn’t happened. We’ve been worse,” Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said.
“In the league, we haven’t been good enough and now we’re out of both cups,” he added.
Championship Stoke City progressed to the fifth round after beating fourth-tier Stevenage 3-1 as Jacob Brown scored an early goal followed by a stunning strike from Josh Laurent and a penalty by Lewis Baker.
Later on Sunday, fifth-tier Welsh club Wrexham, owned by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, hosts Sheffield United.