Liverpool reach FA Cup final with thrilling win over Man City

Reds win 3-2 at Wembley, but manager Jurgen Klopp quick to play down quadruple talk

Saturday, 16th April — By Paul Cowling at Wembley

wembley

FA Cup Semi-Final

MANCHESTER CITY 2 (Grealish 47, Bernardo Silva 90+1)
LIVERPOOL 3 (Konate 9, Mane 17, 45)

JURGEN Klopp played down talk of a quadruple, as Liverpool reached the FA Cup final with a 3-2 win over powerhouse rivals Manchester City this afternoon (Saturday).

“The quadruple talk, I cannot believe,” said the German coach. “We beat the best football team in the world (Manchester City), and that’s a pretty special moment.”

Liverpool tore into City from the kick-off, and it came as no surprise when they opened the scoring in the ninth minute thanks to a towering header from Ibrahima Konate.

Having scored against Benfica midweek, Konate kept up his recent goalscoring form from the Champions League with the deserved opener in this thrilling FA Cup semi-final showdown.

“I am absolutely proud”, said Klopp of his sides statement first half. “The first half was one of the best we have ever played. We did all the right stuff, scored in the right moments – it was an incredible game in the first half, I really loved each second of it.”

City were left reeling from Liverpool’s turbo-charged start. It got even worse for Pep Guardiola’s side when stand-in keeper Zack Steffen dawdled on his goal-line to give away a very cheap second goal.

Sadio Mane closed the American keeper down for a simple goal and it was 2-0 to Liverpool after only 17 minutes.

Out came the safety fire officer for a second time to plonk smoking red flares in his bucket. Liverpool fans swirled scarves as one, sensing they were already in the final.

They had every reason to believe that: City were unusually sloppy – even against such tough opposition. The creative England duo of Jack Grealish and Phil Foden just couldn’t get on the ball as Liverpool closed and pressed.

With the match approaching first half injury-time, Mane fired in Liverpool’s third – the forward latching onto Thiago’s clever pass to volley past Steffen at his near post. City’s misery looked complete.

Grealish fired home on 47 minutes to offer a glimmer of hope for City fans and players. The next goal was going to be huge…

On 55 minutes, Fernandinho was shown a yellow card for a two-footed slider on Mane. Many a ref would have shown the City midfielder a red, which would have surely killed off any ideas of a comeback.

Allison crucially kept out Gabriel Jesus on 69 minutes, with the City striker homing in on the Liverpool goal. City were finally starting to sniff out a second goal.

Immediately at the other end, Mohamed Salah had a great chance to put the game to bed, but he failed to capitalise on a mis-judged back header from Oleksandr Zinchenko; the Egyptian lob hitting the side netting.

Just as everyone thought the game was up, Bernardo Silva made it 3-2 going into four minutes of added-on time.

Raheem Sterling – who had been completely anonymous – dragged a shot at Allison, and then at the other end, Steffen atoned for his dreadful earlier error with a save at the feet of Diogo Jota.

It was a frantic finish, but the whistle went on a crackling semi-final and Liverpool deservedly reached the FA Cup final.

Manchester City: Steffen; Cancelo, Stones, Ake, Zinchenko; Silva, Fernandinho, Grealish; Jesus (Mahrez, 83), Foden, Sterling
Subs not used: Dias, Gundogan, Laporte, Rodri, De Bruyne, Ederson, Dela, Lavia

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Keita (Henderson, 74) , Fabinho, Tiago Alcantara (Jones, 86); Salah, Diaz (Firmino, 84), Mane (Jota, 84)
Subs not used: Milner, Gomez, Tsimikas, Matip, Kelleher

Attendance: 73,793

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