FA Cup Report: Man City 2-3 Liverpool

Liverpool booked their place in the FA Cup Final with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Manchester City at Wembley on Saturday afternoon. Jurgen Klopp’s side blew away City with three goals in the first half and witnessed a late increase to win.

The match started on a low note with both teams still looking tired from the European trips in the middle of the week. Although the Man City match was more intense and they seemed to be out of pace in the first minutes and quickly found themselves behind.

Ibrahima Konate rose above the Blues’ heavenly defense to nod in Andy Robertson’s corner kick in the ninth minute to roll the ball to Liverpool. The Reds kept pressuring City for fouls and the pot exploded when Zach Stephens took too long to move the ball and his pass bounced off Sadio Mane to make it 2-0.

Guardiola urged his team to regroup and City managed to regain some composure and kept the ball better. Neither team was able to achieve quality in the final third, which led to a lull in the match.

Liverpool turned the knob again towards the end of the first half and made it 3-0 straight at the end of the first half. Some great interplay between Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago allowed the Spaniard to make a pass towards Mane. The Senegalese striker scored an excellent goal for the first time, bypassing Stephen in the near goal.

Siti went into a breather desperately in need of inspiration, and he acted immediately. Two minutes into the second half, they managed to close the gap thanks to Jack Grealish. Fernandinho made a pass into the right channel for Gabriel Jesus to run into it. The Brazilian escaped from Fabinho and tampered with Grealish to apply the final touch.

The goal is to open the match with spaces becoming available with increasing frequency. Mane hit a shot on the turn after a good play from Salah. Van Dijk almost scored the end of a free kick from Alexander-Arnold. Jesus entered behind the Liverpool defense but the corner was against him and Alisson saved it.

Liverpool sealed City in their own half with excellent orchestrated pressing and looked likely to score the next goal. Nathan Ake played an important role in dealing with Mohamed Salah to keep City’s return ambitions alive.

City had a great chance to make it 3-2 when Bernardo Silva won the ball and Grealish played Jesus. The Brazilian couldn’t beat his compatriot in Alisson who once again tackled 1v1. They almost had to pay when Zinchenko tried to shoot a losing ball to Stephen but he gave it to Salah. With the narrowing of the space, Salah tried to shoot it, but the angle was very narrow and widened.

Liverpool took the sting out of the match as they expertly controlled the rhythm. City couldn’t create many chances but they got a second in stoppage time. Substitute Riyad Mahrez beat Robertson from the left and tried to beat Alisson from a tight angle. He was unsuccessful, but the loose ball fell to Silva, who hit it three minutes before the end of the match.

Guardiola’s men rallied and both Fernandinho and Mahrez made two dangerous shots. It was a bit late for City and Liverpool almost got the fourth goal with Stephen’s save from Firmino.

The match ended 3-2 as Manchester City bid farewell to their hopes of achieving the treble and Liverpool booked their place in the FA Cup Final. Here are our main points –

Goalkeepers are the ones who make the difference

Ederson’s adorable picture of calm remaining under tremendous pressure from Diogo Jota went viral all over social media after last Sunday’s match. At Wembley, he was put on the bench and replaced by Zach Stephen. The young American spent an evening to forget, gifting Liverpool for the second time and looking unsure on several other occasions.

At the other end, Alison was as good as ever. His distribution was exceptional, he collected cross passes with ease, and his one-on-one stopping is still miles ahead of anyone we’ve ever seen. Titles are defined by the margins and today the guards were on the sidelines.

Some bright spots

Despite a scary first half and a generally shy performance, there were positives Pep Guardiola had to take in this match. The performances by Nathan Ake and Fernandinho, both first-choices, were particularly impressive.

Ake made several important interventions and kept Salah and Diaz in check for most of the afternoon. Fernandinho was City’s most effective striker. The defensive midfielder may be leaving this summer but he has shown he still has some resale value to City.

Triple cup?

Liverpool book their place in next month’s FA Cup Final, where they will face the winners Chelsea and Crystal Palace. The Reds have already won the League Cup and are in the semi-finals of the Champions League, where they face Villarreal. Their odds of winning all three cup competitions would be very favorable at the moment.

They are still fighting in the league, with only one point between them and Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp may have to manage his resources and replace the Premier League Cup with another two.

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