Liverpool hung on to beat Manchester City 3-2 at Wembley Stadium yesterday to reach the final of the FA Cup and end Pep Guardiola’s hopes of a treble.
Jürgen Klopp’s side will meet the winners of today’s other semifinal between Chelsea and Crystal Palace in the May 14 final.
Guardiola opted to rest several of City’s starters, including goalkeeper Ederson, and the weakened side were outplayed by Klopp’s team in the first half, going in 3-0 down at the interval.
Ibrahima Konate headed Liverpool into the lead from an Andy Robertson corner in the ninth minute before a dreadful error by City’s American back-up goalkeeper Zack Steffen gifted the Reds a second.
Steffen took too long when receiving a back pass from John Stones, and Sadio Mané slid in to tackle the keeper and the ball flew into the net. Mané then added another on the stroke of half-time in more conventional fashion, driving a volley past Steffen after being set up by Thiago Alcantara.
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Guardiola made no changes at the break, even though he had options such as Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez to call on, but his side seemed to spark to life. Jack Grealish pulled a goal back 70 seconds after the resumption after Gabriel Jesus did well to beat Fabinho and set up the midfielder who drilled home.
Liverpool keeper Alisson was alert to get out quickly and foil Jesus as the Brazilian burst goal-wards, but while City were improved in the second half, they were still far from their usual levels of chance creation.
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It was puzzling that Guardiola only made one of his possible five changes in the second half, bringing Mahrez on seven minutes from the end. And the introduction of the Algerian had a big effect.
Mahrez cut in from the right and dribbled along the byline before a low ball went through Alisson’s legs and Bernardo Silva pounced on it to make it 3-2 in stoppage time. That prompted a frantic final few minutes, with Fernandinho and Mahrez seeing shots deflected out for corners, while Raheem Sterling’s weak shot was easily saved by Alisson.
At the other end, Steffen did well to stop Roberto Firmino as Liverpool looked to finish off the contest, but the final whistle confirmed their place in their 15th FA Cup final – their first in 10 years.
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For City, it was the third straight season in which they have lost in the last four of the FA Cup.
Liverpool remain in contention for four trophies, having won the League Cup, reached the semifinals of the Champions League and still being in the race for the Premiership title. They sit a point behind leaders City.