FA Cup

Man City 2-3 Liverpool: Player ratings as Reds seal place in FA Cup final

Craig Vickers
Liverpool celebrate
Liverpool celebrate / Marc Atkins/GettyImages
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Liverpool blitzed Man City in a clinical first half display to seal their place in this season's FA Cup final next month with a 3-2 victory over Pep Guardiola's side at Wembley.

Liverpool's route to goal to open the scoring in the 9th minute ought to have come as little surprise to City. Andy Robertson's outswinging corner was met flush on the head by the rising Ibrahima Konate who powered his header beyond Zack Steffen.

The red end of Wembley was rocking, and they were sent into delirium again just seven minutes later. Steffen, handed the starting gloves in place of Ederson, dawled in possession just yards from his goalline before the opportunitistic Sadio Mane slid in to divert the ball into the net.

City were struggling to exert any pressure on the Liverpool backline and, with Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan watching on from the sidelines, Pep Guardiola would have been forgiven for turning to his bench.

There was no activity, however, and the game was ultimately placed beyond City's reach two minutes before the interval. Liverpool moved the ball intricately on the edge of the penalty area and when Thiago moved the ball onto Mane, who sliced an exquisite volley beyond the diving Steffen.

However, City cut the deficit immediately after the restart. Gabriel Jesus was released in-behind by a clever Fernandinho pass before the Brazilian cut across goal and laid the ball onto Jack Grealish who sidefooted a left-footed effort beyond Alisson.

As he did in the league fixture last weekend, Jesus' movement was causing Liverpool issues, and he almost grabbed a second for Guardiola's men minutes later. Sterling turned provider this time, but the Brazilian was ushered wide after springing in-behind the Liverpool backline by the backtracking Virgil van Dijk before Alisson smothered the danger.

Third time is usually the charm, but Jesus was denied again after being slipped in behind by Grealish on 69 minutes. Alisson was quick off his line to deny the Brazilian as he attempted to curl his finish around his countryman.

Liverpool had the chance to add to their lead minutes later when Oleksandr Zinchenko made a mess of a cushioned header back to his goalkeeper. Mohamed Salah stole in, but the Egyptian could only lift his finish into the side netting.

City handed themselves a further lifeline in stoppage time when Bernardo Silva stroked the ball into the net after terrific work from substitute Riyad Mahrez on the right. However, it was too little, too late for City despite Fernandinho and Sterling's best efforts.


Man City vs Liverpool player ratings

1. Man City (4-3-3)

Gabriel Jesus
Jesus looks over to the linesman / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

GK: Zack Steffen - 1/10 - Calamitous error to allow Mane to steal in and double Liverpool's lead in the first half. The type of mistake that is unforgivable at this level.

RB: Joao Cancelo - 4/10 - Struggled against the quick feet of Diaz and was stifled offensively by Liverpool's intense press.

RCB: John Stones - 5/10 - Slow to move the ball from defence, although he was inhibited by the lack of Rodri ahead of him.

LCB: Nathan Ake - 6/10 - Didn't display the assurance with the ball which Laporte typically does, although he showed good recovery pace on a few ocassions.

LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko - 3/10 - Didn't add much in possession, often struggling with his positioning on both sides of the ball.

CM: Fernandinho - 4/10 - Took him until the 56th minute to finally draw a booking, which is remarkable considering the rate he was flying into challenges.

CM: Bernardo Silva - 5/10 - Didn't display his qualities on the ball as much as he usually does. Wasn't afraid to snap in for a challenge as City chased shadows in the first half.

CM: Phil Foden - 3/10 - His passing was decidedly off, switching between a midfield and wide left role.

RW: Gabriel Jesus - 8/10 - His penetrative runs caused Liverpool issues in the second half and he ought to have done better with the pass from Grealish. Suits playing against Klopp's high defensive line.

ST: Jack Grealish - 6/10 - Looked an awkward fit as part of the City frontline to start the game. Improved as the match wore on.

LW: Raheem Sterling - 5/10 - Didn't have many opportunities to stretch his legs. Often forced to come infield in search of the ball.

SUB: Riyad Mahrez (82' for Jesus) - 6/10 - Left Robertson for dead to tee up Bernardo Silva in stoppage time.


2. Liverpool (4-3-3):

Sadio Mane
Liverpool celebrate / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

GK: Alisson - 6/10 - Crucial save to deny Jesus late in the second half, underlining his importance for Liverpool.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold - 6/10 - Considering much of the coverage around the England international is that he seemingly can't defend, worth underlining that he won the majority of his duels.

RCB: Ibrahima Konate - 7/10 - Bullied Ake in the air to open the scoring for the Reds and looked an unmovable object all afternoon.

LCB: Virgil van Dijk - 7/10 - Displayed great recovery pace to push Jesus wide as he raced through on goal in the second half. Heroic block in stoppage time to deny Fernandinho an equaliser.

LB: Andy Robertson - 4/10 - Careless pass inside led to the turnover which City exploited after the interval, but he added great value going forward for Klopp's men. Beaten too easily by Mahrez in stoppage time.

CM: Fabinho - 6/10 - Booked in the first half which curbed his aggressive instincts, but his positioning was usually immaculate to compensate.

CM: Thiago Alcantara - 9/10 - Played with immense poise in midfield, constantly dropping into pockets to circumnavigate the City press. Great link-up play with Alexander-Arnold to supply Mane's second goal of the afternoon.

CM: Naby Keita - 8/10 - Underlined his growing importance to Liverpool, closing City's midfielders down instantly and helping his side to pin City into the middle third.

RW: Mohamed Salah - 3/10 - A very quiet afternoon, which has characterised his form recently. Had to wait 71 minutes for a meaningful sighting at goal.

ST: Sadio Mane - 9/10 - A performance full of conviction. Showed tremendous opportunism to close down a dawdling Steffen, before displaying excellent technique on his volley to add to Liverpool's lead.

LW: Luis Diaz - 8/10 - Played as if he was down the park with his friends. A gorgeous array of tricks, flicks and powerful running.

SUB: Jordan Henderson (73' for Keita) - N/A

SUB: Diogo Jota (83' for Mane) - N/A

SUB: Roberto Firmino (83' for Diaz) - N/A

SUB: Curtis Jones (87' for Thiago) - N/A

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