MANCHESTER CITY 2-3 LIVERPOOL: MATCH REVIEW
Liverpool knocked Manchester City out of the FA Cup in an exciting match up at Wembley yesterday. A 3-0 halftime lead was whittled down to 3-2 late on but it was too little too late as the Reds sealed their place in the final. Here’s the match review.
You can find player ratings from the game here:
° The lineup. The manager made three changes to the side that drew at the Etihad, with Konaté coming in at the back ahead of Matip. Naby Keita was preferred to Henderson in midfield, with Luis Diaz starting over Jota in attack. That meant Sadio Mané played down the middle with Diaz and Mo either side.
° Fast start by the Reds. Liverpool were quick out of the blocks as they put the high press on City to disrupt their possession based buildup. Keita and Thiago were key in midfield as they harassed Bernardo Silva and Foden, whilst the forwards pressed their back four and goalkeeper.
It was the opposite of the start the Reds suffered at the Etihad. If anything, roles were reversed somewhat and City looked uncomfortable. They were forced into coughing up possession a number of times and crucially, Liverpool made their dominance count.
° Konaté opens the scoring. In the 9th minute, Ibou made it three goals in three games when he rose above Ake to power home a header from Robertson’s outswinging corner. A red flair was thrown onto the pitch as the red tide threatened to overwhelm the Sky Blues.
° Mané makes it two. Eight minutes later, the Reds pulled clear after Sadio brilliantly tackled the ball home after Steffen took too long to clear his lines. It was reminiscent to what Ederson got away with at the Etihad, but the American international underestimated the sheer explosiveness of Mané to make up the ground on him.
He was left with egg on his face, wishing the ground swallowed him whole. The red touch paper was lit and Jürgen Klopp’s men looked effervescent. Guardiola’s men had a mountain to climb but were struggling to find their rhythm.
° Mané in menacing mood. Sadio was unplayable yesterday in his new found role as the central striker. He made it 3-0 on the stroke of halftime with a beautifully struck volley from Thiago’s lofted pass. It was a devastating half of football.
Sadio Mané vs Man City:
• 100% shot accuracy
• 100% long ball accuracy
• 87% pass accuracy
• 44 touches
• 20 passes completed
• 5 fouls won (1st)
• 5 duels won
• 5 ball recoveries
• 3 shots (=1st)
• 3 shots on target (1st)
• 2 goals (1st)
° Grealish scores straight into the second half. It was just the kind of start Liverpool had to guard against. Robertson gave the ball away and left a gaping hole for Jesus to attack, Van Dijk and Fabinho didn’t cover themselves in glory either as Grealish was left with the simple task of converting from a few yards.
City thought they had found a way back into the game but the Reds did well to regain control of the game. Thiago was absolutely key to this and was the conductor-in-chief. He pulled the strings in midfield and played some unbelievable passes. He completely bossed proceedings.
Thiago vs Man City:
100% aerial duels won
100% dribble success rate
92% pass accuracy (1st)
12 duels contested
11 duels won (1st)
2/4 tackles won (2nd)
3 fouls won
2 dribbles (2nd)
1 assist (=1st)
0 x dribbled past
° Alisson comes to the fore. The Brazilian goalkeeper had no save of note to make in the first half but was called upon in the second period. He twice denied compatriot Jesus in one on one situations to preserve the side’s two goal advantage.
° Reds fail to kill the game. The game could have been made safe with a fourth goal but a good few chances were missed on the counter late on as City piled forward for a way back into the game. Salah was guilty of two glaring misses with Firmino also culpable for a poor miss in injury time.
° Silva makes it a nervy finish. Mahrez drove past Robertson before seeing his effort blocked by Alisson. The rebound fell perfectly into the path of Bernardo Silva who made it 3-2 in the 91st minute. It made for a nervy last couple of minutes in a game the Reds should have wrapped up long before then.
° Another final. Jürgen Klopp has now guided Liverpool to an eighth Cup final in his six and half year stay at the club. It is a first FA Cup final since 2012 for the Reds and they will face Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea. The Blues will be out for revenge after the League Cup final loss in February.
What’s next? It’s back to the Premier League title chase on Tuesday night as bitter rivals Manchester United make the short trip to Anfield. Liverpool thrashed United 5-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the season and the Red Devils will be wary of avoiding another embarrassing defeat as they chase top four.
There’s no time to celebrate the victory over City. The Reds must recover quickly and prepare for the test Ragnick’s outfit will pose. They could end the day top of the table as Manchester City aren’t in action until Wednesday night when they host Brighton and Hove Albion. The chase continues.