There were positives on show in Liverpool’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Brighton, but similar shortcomings were also bemoaned by the watching journalists.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side took the lead at the Amex Stadium on Sunday, thanks to Harvey Elliott‘s strike, but were eventually knocked out in the dying minutes.
It means Liverpool’s spell as FA Cup holders is over, with the Reds now just having the Premier League and Champions League to play for this season.
Here’s how the media assessed the Reds’ exit.
Yet another disappointing result was dissected by some…
Goal‘s Neil Jones felt it was another bleak day in a terrible season:
“The Reds will not be returning to Wembley this season as their nightmare campaign suffered another body blow at the Amex.
“In a season of suffering, the FA Cup provided yet another slap in the face for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.
“It felt tough on Klopp’s side, who competed well throughout and were unrecognisable from the side battered here in the Premier League earlier this month, but it is merely the latest setback in a campaign which is fast becoming a nightmare at Anfield.”
David Hytner of the Guardian claimed the defeat was a big body blow:
“Just when Jurgen Klopp thought that things could not get any worse for his Liverpool team and, especially, here on the south coast.
“When they were last here two weeks ago, the 3-0 Premier League defeat was, to paraphrase the manager, a historic low.
“Klopp could not remember a worse performance by one of his teams, Liverpool’s traumatic season suffering one of its deepest cuts.
“It was a big reason why this FA Cup tie mattered so much. And yet from a position of strength, a goal to the good through Harvey Elliott, they were reeled in by a Brighton team that are attracting fresh superlatives from week to week.”
It was another day to forget for Alexander-Arnold…
Jones was not impressed by the Liverpool full-back:
“Trent Alexander-Arnold’s face said it all. Not happy. There was less than an hour on the clock and the fourth official’s board had gone up, showing the No.66.
“The England man didn’t offer an open show of dissent towards his manager, but he certainly didn’t disguise his disappointment.
“Another game gone, another game searching for form and rhythm and happiness.
“Alexander-Arnold had not been especially poor here – he saved Liverpool with a goalline clearance in the first half – but it says plenty about the Reds’ struggles, and their inability to get their full-backs into the game in an attacking sense, that they would be willing to take off a potential game-changer with the cup tie poised at 1-1.”
The Mirror‘s Kieran King was similarly critical of Alexander-Arnold:
“As the game entered its final stages, Jurgen Klopp made the decision to make a clutch of alterations. Trent Alexander-Arnold was among those to have been replaced just before the hour mark as he came off in place of James Milner.
“The right-back did not look particularly pleased with being taken off as he waltzed off the pitch, he had a distinct look of disappointment on his face after being deprived of the opportunity to help his teammates secure their place in the next round.
“Alexander-Arnold did well against the in-form Kauro Mitoma, however, who is one of the most prized players in the Premier League right now. But the England international lacked spark going forward and is struggling to show that same form as he did especially last season.”
Other individuals fared a little better…
Jones liked what he saw from Cody Gakpo:
“Five scoreless games to start his Liverpool career, but small steps are what the Reds are after, what they’re clinging to, at the moment, and here we had the clearest indication of where Gakpo may fit into this team, and the kind of things he might bring.
“The Dutchman, as he did at Wolves in the last round, and against Chelsea last weekend, started as the Reds’ No.9, instructed to connect the game by drifting deep, and to prevent Brighton playing into midfield easily by crowding Alexis Mac Allister and Pascal Gross.
“He did it well, too. There were signs of a growing understanding with Salah, in particular, and Klopp will have been pleased to see the new boy showing the confidence to turn and slip away from defenders in the middle of the pitch, driving forward with purpose and speed.
“There was to be no end product, as it turned out, and that’s the next box he needs to start ticking, but Gakpo was certainly one of the better performers in red today.”
The BBC‘s Gary Rose also noted “promising signs” from Gakpo but as an attacking unit, the Reds failed to sustain a threat to Brighton:
“Liverpool certainly looked better than they did in their previous visit to the Amex, with their counter in the first half a constant danger for Brighton, while Cody Gakpo showed promising signs of building up an understanding with Salah.
“But ultimately they did not threaten the Seagulls’ goal enough as they finished with just two shots on target, while they were fortunate not to have been reduced to 10 men after Fabinho injured Ferguson with a nasty foul.
“There’s still time for Liverpool to secure a top-four Premier League finish and success in the Champions League, but they will need to produce much better than this.”
Finally, This Is Anfield‘s Henry Jackson thought several players did well, as Klopp showed faith in some:
“It was a real show of faith in the likes of Joe Gomez, Stefan Bajcetic and Naby Keita, who justified their selection, despite the result.
“For much of the game, Liverpool actually looked like a functioning football team again, looking compact off the ball and more cohesive on it.
“With Fabinho and Jordan Henderson again axed, the midfield was vibrant in its hounding of Brighton – that only really changed when substitutions were made (more on that later!).
“Meanwhile, Ibrahima Konate was excellent at the heart of the defence, coping well with the constant movement and interchanging of the Seagulls’ attack.”