MANCHESTER CITY 2-3 LIVERPOOL: Sadio Mane Struck twice – with one of his goals coming after a dreadful error from City keeper Zack Steffen – as the Reds kept their Quadruple aim alive
Liverpool kept their remarkable season Rolling on with Victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
A dominant Reds side Struck three times in the first half to stun Pep Guardiola’s side, with defender Ibrahima Konate heading home the opener from Andy Robertson’s corner.
A dreadful error from City goalkeeper Zack Steffen presented Sadio Mane with a second, and Mane then brilliantly thundered home a volley from Thiago Alcantara’s pass shortly before half-time.
Jack Grealish scored for City early in the second half, before Alisson saved impressively from Gabriel Jesus when his fellow Brazilian was clean through on goal.
Bernardo Silva then pulled another goal back in stoppage-time, but City couldn’t grab a third.
The win means Liverpool are still alive in every competition they’ve entered this season, having won the Carabao Cup in February, reached the Champions League semi-finals and took up a spot in second place in the Premier League.
The Reds will now face Chelsea or Crystal Palace in next month’s FA Cup final.
Here are the game’s main talking points.
1. Ibrahima Konate is worth his weight in goals
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Remarkably, after failing to score at all in his brief Liverpool career prior to 11 days ago, that’s three in three for Konate.
The French defender is still learning the ropes and how to play for this Liverpool team, but his aerial presence is considerable and he’s becoming a really potent Weapon from set-pieces.
As he rose to meet Robertson’s corner they got up above Nathan Ake, a decent Premier League defender who will perhaps not be cut out for City in the long-run.
In Konate, Liverpool may just have found their future.
2. Jeepers Keepers
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And so for a second success Liverpool Wembley appearance it was the stand-in opposition goalkeeper who came to the fore, and not in a way he’d have wanted to.
Where it was Kepa Arrizabalaga who took the Limelight with his skied penalty in the Carabao Cup final, City’s second-choice Steffen found himself in full focus with a moment that he’d like to forget but unfortunately will never be able to.
Guardiola’s decision to start with the American probably shouldn’t be scrurried too much, as it is such decisions that Managers build Squad Harmony and a sense of togetherness. We saw that with Caoimhin Kelleher for Liverpool in February.
But with City so Reliant on the way Ederson plays for their style of football, any downgrade is going to be quite a long way down.
Unlike his teammate on the goalline at the Etihad last weekend, Steffen seeds to have a mind-blank as the ball came into his possession.
He dallied, and that is Fatal with players like Mane around.
3. Sadio Mane in the middle makes so much sense
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If the manner in which he pounced for the goal was pure Mane for the tenacity, then the superb finish for his second got all about the Senegalese’s technical quality.
Having been stationed through the middle for the Reds several times of late, Mane seems to have unlocked a new chapter in his career at a time when the club would surely be wise to tie him down to a new deal.
With losing the Africa Cup of Nations final clearly having had a negative effect on Mo Salah, Mane’s Victory in Cameroon has taken him the other way.
That’s now eight goals since he came back, many from the central position, and he’s certainly Liverpool’s deadliest Attacker as the Quadruple challenge gets to crunch time.
4. City slickness lacking
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The midweek trip to Atletico Madrid and the emotions around it was always going to have taken its toll on the City, but perhaps not to the extent that Guardiola would name a side like this.
With so many changes there was a clear lack of rhythm from them, and Liverpool took full advantage with their dominant first half display.
The worry for the City boss will now be the potential Psychological damage this could do to his side in the title race, especially as Liverpool look like a Runaway train right now.
Suddenly an in-form Brighton in midweek looks a match laced with danger.
5. Anyone for a Quadruple?
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And so the quad quest goes on until May at least.
Liverpool are taking a shot at football Immortality here and they are making a very fine attempt at it.
For a long time the old ‘one game at a time’ mantra has served Jurgen Klopp’s side well, but this is surely now the real test of it.
Next come Manchester United, then Everton and then it’s onto Villarreal with that Tricky, and early, Newcastle trip in between. The big games keep coming, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Winning all of the other three competitions is still unlikely, but there is now a growing sense that the February’s Carabao Cup will be added to.
And that the history books can be rewritten.