Manchester City 2-3 Liverpool: Reds hold on to reach FA Cup Final and keep quadruple bid alive at Wembley

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Liverpool have reached the FA Cup Final for the first time since 2012  (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Liverpool have reached the FA Cup Final for the first time since 2012 (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Liverpool withstood a last-gasp fightback from title rivals Manchester City to seal their place in next month’s FA Cup Final and keep hopes of an unprecedented quadruple alive at Wembley.

Jurgen Klopp’s brilliant Reds inflicted all their damage in a thoroughly one-sided first half in the second dramatic meeting between English football’s two leading clubs in six days, with centre-back Ibrahima Konate rising highest to power home his third goal in as many matches from an Andy Robertson corner inside 10 minutes.

Man of the match Sadio Mane then notched a decisive brace, first sliding in to double the advantage after a dreadful error from City goalkeeper Zack Steffen, starting in place of usual No1 Ederson - who escaped from a similar situation in last weekend’s pulsating 2-2 Premier League draw at the Etihad Stadium.

Steffen simply took too long to try and pick a pass after the ball was sent back harmlessly by defender John Stones and was left embarrassed after Mane was quickly able to close the angle and slide in to score.

Mane’s spinning volley on the stroke of half-time after a delicious ball from Thiago Alcantara looked to have ended the match as a contest, with Liverpool simply irresistible and their opponents - who surprisingly made five changes from last week’s meeting - in utter disarray after producing one of their worst halves under Pep Guardiola.

However, Jack Grealish struck within two minutes of the restart after fine work from Gabriel Jesus to give City hope of an unlikely comeback to keep their treble bid intact.

Liverpool regained control thereafter and were confidently seeing the game out until Bernardo Silva’s close-range finish in the first minute of stoppage time set up a grandstand end to proceedings, in which Fernandinho, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling all had real chances to force a period of extra time.

But ultimately Carabao Cup winners Liverpool held on to book another return to Wembley on May 14, when they will face either Chelsea or Crystal Palace, who meet in an all-London last-four clash on Sunday afternoon.

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

It is the third time they have reached both domestic cup finals in the same season, having also achieved the feat in 2000-01 and 2011-12.

It will be Liverpool’s 15th appearance in English football’s showpiece fixture overall and first since 2012, when they lost 2-1 to Chelsea. Liverpool have not lifted the trophy since beating West Ham on penalties in Cardiff in 2006.

Saturday’s semi-final was overshadowed by a small section of City fans who disrupted a pre-match minute of silence in memory of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, leading to the tribute being cut short and an apology being issued by City during the match.

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