BOXING rematches are often a disappointment.
Liverpool were fit, fresh, vicious and organised in the win over Man City
City were lucky ref Michael Oliver did not put them out of their misery and stop this contest at half-time. The last few minutes, when Bernardo Silva scored a late goal, merely set up an unexpected tense finish.
Here was a fresh and fit Liverpool team at their most vicious and organised.
In contrast, City were left battered and bruised from the midweek clash at Atletico Madrid and the changes did not work.
And while City can no longer win the Treble Liverpool could still win the Quadruple. It still sounds impossible even on this evidence, but it could actually happen.
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These two could still meet in the final of the Champions League in Paris.
And during the week, Liverpool entertain Manchester United and City host in-form Brighton.
So it would be foolish to rule out another twist.
Exactly a year ago today, City’s hopes of winning the Quadruple were blown to pieces with a defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final. During the same weekend, Liverpool were lurking in sixth place.
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So it is an astonishing achievement by Klopp and team – helped by some fine signings – that the team are able to even contemplate tearing up the history books.
Despite the seven City changes from midweek and the fact Liverpool were able to rest players for the second leg against Benfica, no one – certainly not even Klopp – could have expected such a mismatched first half.
We had seen it before, though. It was reminiscent of the 2018 Champions League quarter-final when Liverpool battered City with three goals in the opening 31 minutes.
Ibrahima Konate, a £36million signing from Leipzig, had not scored until the quarter-final first leg away to Benfica and now he is on a run all strikers would be proud of with three in as many games.
They have also been extremely similar in the terms of the way he has leaped high above everyone else and planted an absolutely unstoppable effort past the keeper.
So you would have thought City would have been a bit more clued up when he rose unchallenged to meet Andy Robertson’s outswinging cross.
And then came the moment in the 17th minute when you knew City were out of the Cup.
In the 2-2 draw at the Etihad, No 1 keeper Ederson was guilty of some poor control and did his best to hand Diogo Jota an easy goal but the Brazilian got away with it.
Sadly, No 2 keeper Zack Steffen had been watching a bit too closely. He dithered after receiving a back pass and Mane slid in with his right leg to score.
Unsurprisingly, Steffen looked absolutely shattered and from that moment, you knew that was no way back for City.
The American looked to be bricking it every time the ball came anywhere near him. There were ironic cheers from the Liverpool fans the next time Mane chased down Steffen although thankfully, he booted the ball before causing another catastrophe.
The Reds will face either Chelsea or Crystal Palace in the final
Yet Mane would continue to torment the keeper. He scored a brilliant near-post finish to end the contest with a third before half.
Thiago Alcantara and Trent Alexander-Arnold bamboozled City with some brilliant quick passing on the edge of the area.
The Spanish midfielder lifted the ball out towards Mane who got a great connection on the ball to smash an effort into the near post.
Just 70 seconds into the second half, City attempted to make a game of it. Jack Grealish, after a lousy opening half, struck a shot into the top corner after Sterling left Matip on his backside.
Jesus wasted two good chances when clean through and on each occasion was denied by Alisson. Someone like Harry Kane would have scored both.
Fernandinho was lucky to stay on the pitch after a poor challenge on Sadio Mane simply because the City captain should have got a yellow card – on more than one occasion – in the opening 45 minutes.
Mo Salah should have made it 4-1 after Oleksandr Zinchenko’s hilariously-bad attempt at heading the ball back to his keeper.
As the officials indicated there would be four minutes of injury time, Bernardo Silva had an easy tap-in after Riyad Mahrez’s shot was saved by Alisson.
Fernandinho and Sterling had chances but Liverpool held on.
By: Gary Stonehouse
Title: Liverpool were fit, fresh, vicious and organised while Man City were battered and bruised after Atletico Madrid war
Sourced From: www.thesun.co.uk/sport/18284502/liverpool-man-city-fa-cup-semi-final/
Published Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2022 17:18:10 +0000