Paul Merson criticises Joel Matip as Liverpool lose to Brighton
Liverpool fell to a second successive Premier League defeat on Saturday as Brighton ran out 3-0 winners against the Reds.
Jurgen Klopp’s charges have also conceded six goals in their last two league games and eight in their last three in all competitions.
Meanwhile, high-flying Brighton continue to push for European qualification, having won nine of their 18 league games so far.
Liverpool struggled in the first half, but managed to get to half-time without conceding.
This changed early on after the restart, with Solly March putting the hosts in the lead on 47 minutes.
A poor touch from Matip led to Alexis Mac Allister nipping in.
The World Cup winner worked the ball to Kaoru Mitoma, who set March up to tap home from close range.
Merson wasn’t impressed by the £140,000-a-week Liverpool defender’s role in the goal.
“It’s a terrible mistake by Matip,” he said on Sky Sports News (14/1/23, 16:05).
“And this goal is onside! What a start for Brighton – they deserve it.”
Sadly, things would get much worse for Liverpool.
March made it 2-0 on 53 minutes, picking out his spot and drilling a fine effort into the far corner.
And eight minutes from time, another Liverpool defender was caught out for Brighton’s third.
Danny Welbeck looped his first touch over Joe Gomez and fired a low finish from close range into the net.
It was Brighton’s first-ever top-flight home win over Liverpool and put them above the Reds in the table.
Meanwhile, the Reds find themselves seven points adrift of the top four.
Jurgen Klopp needs to act quickly to stop the rot, as the prospect of falling out of the top half of the table is now a serious one.
‘Had his moments’
Liverpool World gave Matip a 4 out of 10 for his efforts on the day.
‘Had his moments in the first half where he looked good,’ they began.
‘But honestly needs to give more leadership and direction in the absence of Van Dijk.’
The Liverpool Echo, meanwhile, gave the defender a mere 3 out of 10.
‘All over the place at times,’ they wrote.
‘But one good tackle inside area stopped Mitoma before terrible pass infield led to the opener. Booked and subbed.’
In all fairness, it’s not like Matip was an outlier. It was a dreadful performance from most of the Liverpool players.
Worrying times for Liverpool, who need to get back on track fast if they are to salvage anything from the league campaign.
Obviously the Reds are still in the Champions League and FA Cup, but unless they improve fast, they won’t last long in either competition.