The discussion about who is better at full strength, Liverpool or Manchester City, will rage on for some time, but the Reds are beginning to build an enticing case for having the stronger team.
Liverpool raced into a 3-0 first-half lead thanks to an Ibrahima Konate header and a Sadio Mane brace, before City rallied back with goals from Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva in the second half, nearly forcing extra time.
Liverpool will play Chelsea or Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final on May 14 for the first time since 2012. The two teams will meet in the semi-final on Sunday. The Reds are in their 15th FA Cup final, but haven’t won it since 2006, and Klopp has yet to lead them to a domestic knockout championship.
It was a game too far for City, who were physically and mentally exhausted, as Liverpool handed them their first defeat in 11 games. Each of the league encounters this season have resulted in 2-2 draws, including last weekend’s tense encounter at the Etihad Stadium.
Highlights of the game
As Nathan Ake and Gabriel Jesus made a mess of defending a straightforward set-piece, Ibrahima Konate headed in Andy Robertson’s ninth-minute corner for his third goal in as many games. When these two teams played six days ago, Zack Steffen tried and failed to match Ederson’s calmness.
Diogo Jota almost brought Ederson down on the goal line with the ball at his feet, but he played a careless pass out to clear the danger. Sadio Mane pounced after Steffen got the ball stuck under his boots following a simple John Stones back-pass, tackling City’s back-up goalkeeper and turning the ball into the net in one move.
City were on their feet as Mane scored his third goal on the stroke of half-time, the result of a beautiful move that saw Trent Alexander-Arnold beating the City press with a stunning cross-field pass to Luis Diaz and a wonderful chipped assist from Thiago Alcantara.
Surprisingly, there were no City changes over the vacation. Less than two minutes into the second quarter, Jack Grealish scored following superb work by Jesus. Gabriel will be replaced by Riyad Mahrez, a goalkeeper from Liverpool.
After collecting Phil Foden’s pass and driving to the byline to fire, Mahrez had time to register an assist. In extra time, Alisson rescued the day, but Raheem Sterling squandered good chances, but it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that something needed to be changed early in the game.
Following the game, Guardiola explained how stretched his team is, noting that only Kevin De Bruyne had four stitches in his right foot the day before.
Although Liverpool appears to be handling this period better than most, reaching the finals of both the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup for the third season in a row (no other club has done so more than twice), Klopp downplayed any talk of winning the Premier League and Champions League trophies to complete the historic Quadruple.
City leads the Premier League by one point and might face Liverpool in an all-English Champions League final next month (should both sides advance past Real Madrid and Villarreal, respectively). Few would bet against City bouncing back, but Liverpool set a precedent.
Edited By : Khushi Thakur
Published By : Shubham Ghulaxe