Wolves humiliate Liverpool; Mitoma to the rescue for Brighton
Reuters || Shining BD
Relegation-threatened Wolverhampton Wanderers humiliated Juergen Klopp's Liverpool with a comfortable 3-0 win over the misfiring Reds, while Brighton & Hove Albion's Kaoru Mitoma rose to the occasion and scored for a third game in succession to snatch a 1-0 win over relegation-threatened Bournemouth in an entertaining Premier League south-coast derby, on Saturday.
In their best performance of the season, Wolves cut through Liverpool's shaky defence from the off, missing two good chances before a Hwang Hee-Chan cutback went in off the heel of Joel Matip for a fifth minute own goal.
Minutes later, debutant Craig Dawson lashed in the second unmarked from close range after the ball bounced off Cody Gakpo in another spell of sloppy defending by the visitors.
A fired-up Liverpool started the second half strongly, but Ruben Neves effectively ended the contest in the 71st minute, controlling then prodding the ball in at the end of a scintillating counter-attack from the home side.
Defeat left Liverpool 10th on 29 points after a terrible start to 2023 in which they have won just one of seven matches - against Wolves in the FA Cup - in all competitions.
"The start to the game was horrible. We caused the misery with the first 12 minutes... How can I not be concerned?" a downcast Klopp told reporters after the game.
Mitoma to the rescue
With time running out and Bournemouth seemingly coming away from the Amex Stadium with a precious point, Mitoma stole into the box and rose high while back-pedalling to head home Jeremy Sarmiento's cross at the near post in the 87th minute.
Brighton & Hove Albion's Kaoru Mitoma celebrates scoring their first goal with Jeremy Sarmiento and Pervis Estupinan. Photo: Reuters
Mitoma had been doubled up on during the match as Bournemouth identified him as the danger man, attempting to blunt his speed and agility in the final third, but the 25-year-old was relentless in his quest for a breakthrough.
Ultimately, the goal was far from a trademark finish from the electric Japanese winger but it was enough to seal three points as Brighton moved back up to sixth place with 34 points, inching ever closer to the dream of European football.
"I can never substitute him (Mitoma) because I felt he could score," Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said as Mitoma completed 90 minutes for the fourth straight game.