Liverpool hung on to beat Manchester City 3-2 at Wembley Stadium on Saturday to reach the final of the FA Cup and end Pep Guardiola’s hopes of a treble.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will meet the winner of Sunday’s other semi-final between Chelsea and Crystal Palace in the May 14th final as it keep alive its dream of an unprecedented quadruple.
Guardiola opted to rest several of City’s starters, including goalkeeper Ederson, and the weakened side was outplayed by Jurgen Klopp’s team in the first half, going in 3-0 down at the interval.
Although City scored at the start and end of the second half, its weakened line-up never really did enough to win the game against opponent it drew 2-2 with in the Premier League last week. “Absolutely proud, incredible – I think the first half was one of the best we ever played,” said Klopp.
“We did all the right stuff, we scored in the right moments, we played an incredible game in the first half, I really loved each second of it,” he added.
Ibrahima Konate headed Liverpool ahead from an Andy Robertson corner in the ninth minute before a dreadful error from 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 Mane slid in to tackle the keeper and the ball flew into the net.
Mane then added another, on the stroke of halftime, in more conventional fashion, driving a volley past Steffen after being set up by Thiago Alcantara.
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 did spark into life.
Jack Grealish pulled a goal back 70 seconds after the resumption after Gabriel Jesus did well to beat Fabinho and set up the England midfielder who drilled home.
Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker was alert to get out quickly and foil Gabriel Jesus as the Brazilian burst goalwards but while City was improved, it still was far from its usual levels of chance creation.
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 although the introduction of the Algerian did make a big impact.
Mahrez cut in from the right and dribbled along the byline before a low ball went through Alisson then Bernardo Silva made it 3-2 in stoppage time.
That prompted a frantic final few minutes with Fernandinho and Mahrez both 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 its place in its 15th FA Cup final, but its first in 10 years.
For City it was the third straight season in which it has lost in the last four of the FA Cup.
“We gave everything after a tough first half,” said Guardiola.
“For the first goal, the set pieces they are very, very strong. The second was an accident. Difficult to come back but they did it perfectly in the second half,” he added.
Liverpool remains in contention for four trophies having won the League Cup, reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and still being in the race for the Premier League title where it sits a point behind leader City.