Manchester City will take on rivals Liverpool in the semi-final of the FA Cup on 16th April at the Wembley Stadium. City and Liverpool are also involved in the running for the Premier League title, with just one point separating the two sides at the top of the table this season.
Both Manchester City and Liverpool booked their spots in the semi-final of the Champions League mid-week. While Liverpool cruised to victory against Benfica, Manchester City edged past Atletico Madrid in a tense encounter. The two sides also famously clashed at the City of Manchester Stadium last weekend in order to potentially decide the Premier League title winners. However, a pulsating 2-2 stalemate at the end of 90 minutes left the equation unchanged.
Manchester City were in the headlines this week for giving Atletico Madrid and their manager Diego Simeone a taste of their own medicine. While the Spanish side lost their heads at the Wanda Metropolitano in the Champions League quarter-final, Manchester City kept their nerves and held onto a goalless draw in Madrid to progress to the semis on a 1-0 aggregate.
City were not exactly fancy against Atletico, but still got the job done. Kevin De Bruyne had scored the winner in the first leg and that was all that Pep Guardiola required to set up a final four clash with Atletico’s neighbours and arch-rivals Real Madrid. Manchester City will continue to dream of a treble and their superstar manager, Pep Guardiola, recently became only the first coach in history to enter the Champions League semi-finals on nine different occasions.
Both sides had also attracted plenty of controversy after an ill-tempered end to the game. A foul on Phil Foden saw Filipe get red-carded in the dying embers of the match, and the tension boiled over as the players started brawling. The fight even spilled over into the tunnel and Madrid police had to be called to separate the players of both sides.
Last weekend’s clash against Liverpool was billed as the match that could potentially decide the Premier League title winners this season. Manchester City took the lead twice against Liverpool who bounced back on both occasions spectacularly. City continue to boast a one-point lead at the top of the Premier League table over Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The side from Manchester have also enjoyed a comfortable route to the semi-finals of the FA Cup. The likes of Swindon Town, Fulham, Peterborough United and Southampton haven’t even come close to challenging Pep Guardiola’s mighty team in this year’s competition. With that being said, Manchester City have been knocked out of the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the last two seasons and they will be cautious about avoiding another upset this time around.
Under Pep Guardiola’s historic tenure, Manchester City has been able to lift the FA Cup on only one occasion in 2018-19. However, they are unbeaten in the last 10 matches across all competitions. Manchester City and Liverpool have met each other at the Wembley Stadium on two previous occasions. Both games had ended in 1-1 draws before City went on to win the penalties in the 2016 League Cup Final and the 2019 Community Shield.
Juergen Klopp made as many as seven changes to the lineup against Benfica in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal. While that had left several Liverpool fans fearing about the prospect of Benfica coming back into the tie. Their first lead dominance was enough to save their semi-final bid as the Anfield leg ended with a thrilling 3-3 scoreline.
Ibrahima Konate got Liverpool ahead in the game while Roberto Firmino also grabbed a brace. However, they were cancelled by the visitors with Gonzalo Ramos, Roman Yaremchuk and in-form striker Darwin Nunez getting on the scoresheet. Liverpool will now face Villarreal who took on and defeated the mighty Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Liverpool had never reached the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, FA Cup and Champions League in one season in their history. Therefore, hopes and dreams of a remarkable quadruple are very much a possibility. With that being said, Liverpool continued to depend on Manchester City dropping points in order to take the lead in the Premier League title race.
Much like Manchester City, Liverpool have also had a straightforward route to the semi-finals of the FA Cup. They defeated Shrewsbury Town, Cardiff City, Norwich City, and Nottingham Forest to reach the semis of this prestigious cup competition for the first time since 2014-15. This is the first time that German manager Jurgen Klopp will lead the side in the semis of the FA Cup. The Reds have qualified for the FA Cup final on eight of the last 10 occasions where they have made it to the final four.
Following the draw with Benfica, Liverpool are now undefeated in seven matches across all competitions. They have also found the back of the name at least twice in six of those matches. However, Liverpool haven’t been able to defeat Manchester City in the last 5 matches.
MCI vs LIV, FA Cup 2021/22
Date: 16th April, 2022
Time: 8:00 PM IST
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
Manchester City FA Cup form:
Manchester City form (all competitions):
Liverpool FA Cup form:
Liverpool form (all competitions):
Manchester City wins: 45
Liverpool wins: 78
MCI vs LIV TEAM NEWS:
Manchester City Team News: To say that the Manchester City players were engaged in a full-out war against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night will not be an understatement. Phil Foden’s bandaged head is evidence of exactly that. Pep Guardiola also lost right-back Kyle Walker and star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, whose first leg goal proved to be the difference in the tie, to injuries on that night. Therefore, there are doubts on their participation in this heated contest.
Ruben Dias has also entered contention after he was fit enough to make the bench at the Wanda Metropolitano there his return could see John Stones move to the right-back slot to cover for the injured Kyle Walker. Portuguese wide-back Joao Cancelo could end up switching flanks with Nathan Ake or Oleksandr Zinchenko starting on the left. Meanwhile, De Bruyne’s absence could lead to Raheem Sterling starting the game.
Liverpool Team News: In stark contrast, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will have almost his entire squad available for this crucial fixture. Diogo Jota’s participation is slightly doubtful after he suffered a knock against Benfica in the Champions League semis.
Liverpool are likely to return to a full-strength starting XI after heavily rotating against Benfica. Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, and Trent Alexander Arnold are expected to return and bolster the defense. Meanwhile, Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara are expected to start in midfield after coming off from the substitutes bench in the midweek fixture.
The attack is also expected to be spearheaded by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Colombian winger Luis Diaz could potentially join the African duo in the attack.
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Ake; Silva, Rodri, Gundogan; Jesus, Sterling, Grealish
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz
Fireworks are promised whenever Manchester City and Liverpool meet each other. Pep Guardiola’s side should have arguably killed off the Premier League clash against Liverpool last weekend after getting their noses ahead twice. However, they were left to regret the chances missed. Manchester City’s players left it all out on the field against Atletico and they have some scars to show from those heated contests.
A depleted Manchester City side definitely gives Liverpool the advantage in this contest. Klopp was able to raise several of his key players and they will be on fresh legs in the FA Cup semi-final. It will be interesting to see if they can drive home their advantage on paper.