An unlikely quadruple remains very much on for Liverpool after a 3-2 victory against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

The national stadium was bathed in sunshine, resplendent, eagerly anticipating round two of arguably the biggest heavyweight clash in world football right now.

Fair enough, technically round three if you include the Anfield game earlier this season, but it felt like a second leg after last week's exhilarating 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium that left City one point ahead of the Reds in the race for the Premier League title.

A relatively innocent declaration from former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher recently that this is now the biggest rivalry in English football caused uproar from those who remember the days of Manchester United and Arsenal going at it, publicly hating one another, fiery encounters, pizza lobbing. That rivalry admittedly had it all.

This is a rivalry of quality, though. It would be a stretch to say City and Liverpool like each other, but there is a clear mutual respect, which some claim stops it being a proper rivalry.

It is an odd thing to point to when the same people were seemingly disgusted by the scenes at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday as City and Atletico Madrid players did not exactly shake hands after the final whistle.

There was some ill-feeling in Wembley ahead of kick-off, with a section of City fans choosing to make noise during a moment of silence to mark the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, which the Manchester club later condemned in a statement.

Purely from a football perspective, this is as good as it gets, possibly in the world. It is the new Real Madrid v Barcelona, and this was the latest chapter, their first meeting at Wembley since the 2019 Community Shield, which City won on penalties.

 

Of course, no-one particularly wanted to be at Wembley, as nice as it looked. With travel from the north west of England heavily affected by a lack of train services over the Easter weekend, questions were raised as to why both sets of fans were forced to travel to London to play a game that was not even a final, but that is a conversation for another day.

On this day, it was the red of Liverpool that reigned supreme.

A strong start for Klopp's men saw Ibrahima Konate continue his recent goalscoring form, nodding in his third goal for Liverpool in the space of four games from Andy Robertson's outswinging corner.

The freshness of the Reds told in the early stages, with Klopp having rested a number of key players in the week, while City had experienced a tough away trip to Madrid, and Guardiola was forced to make several changes to his usual line-up.

His decision to swap goalkeepers soon came back to bite him as Sadio Mane closed down Zack Steffen. While Ederson had teased Diogo Jota at the Etihad in a similar way, Steffen could not match the Brazilian's calmness and saw himself tackled by Mane to concede a farcical second.

Liverpool's midfield was masterful at Wembley. Fabinho managed to keep City's band of attacking midfielders relatively quiet, even after picking up a first-half yellow card. Thiago was just as mesmeric as he had been at the Etihad, finding or creating space, making full use of the vast pitch, and it was his sumptuous dinked ball out to Mane that led to the third, with the Senegalese smashing home inside Steffen's near post.

 

Of all three Liverpool midfielders, though, you could argue it was Naby Keita who stood out most.

The Guinea international has struggled for fitness and consistency pretty much ever since he arrived in a big-money move from RB Leipzig in 2018, but picked ahead of captain Jordan Henderson for this huge game, he did not let his manager down.

Keita won possession seven times, more than any other player on the pitch in the 73 minutes he featured, and with the ball during that time, nearly matched Thiago (26) for passes in the opposition half (24).

Last week's league encounter had seen City dominate the first half before Liverpool came back in the second, and it seemed the reverse was happening here, except the Merseysiders made more of their dominance with a three-goal lead at the break.

Guardiola's men started the second half much quicker, and had pulled it back to 3-1 within minutes, with a nice Gabriel Jesus run ending with Jack Grealish firing home, just days after admitting he wanted to score more goals after his £100million move from Aston Villa last year.

This was not the same City as last week though, quite literally given the number of changes, and they rarely looked like troubling their title rivals after that, with Jesus hitting an effort when through on goal straight at fellow countryman Alisson.

The Premier League leaders struggled, with just one shot in the first half and Grealish's goal their first effort on target. Their passing accuracy was also way down from its usual high standards at just 80.5 per cent, playing more long balls and failing to deal with Liverpool's famous press.

Though he did not find the net himself, the impact of Luis Diaz was clear for all to see again. The Colombian seems to be improving alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah game on game.

He won four fouls as he was a constant thorn in the side of Joao Cancelo, while Mane also carried on the fine form he showed at the Etihad.

The former Southampton man became the first Liverpool player to score twice in an FA Cup semi-final since Robbie Fowler against Aston Villa in 1996, and the first to score a brace for the Reds at Wembley since Steve McManaman in the League Cup final against Bolton Wanderers in 1995.

In typical City fashion, they refused to give up until the end, making things interesting with a second goal back in stoppage time courtesy of Bernardo Silva after fine work from substitute Riyad Mahrez.

This was Liverpool's day, though, and if City struck a blow by staying ahead of the Reds in the league last week, Klopp's men responded with one of their own here as we head towards what promises to be an increasingly fascinating rivalry.

Liverpool fans sang Dua Lipa's 'One Kiss' as they got ready for a long journey back up the motorway, safe in the knowledge that history still beckons this season.

Liverpool's quadruple hopes remain intact as they beat rivals Manchester City 3-2 to secure their spot in the FA Cup final.

The Reds and City are neck-and-neck in the Premier League and could yet contest the Champions League final, but Saturday's win at Wembley made it advantage Liverpool in their 2021-22 trophies duel.

While City were without Kyle Walker and only had Kevin De Bruyne on the bench due to injury, Liverpool restored several key players to their line-up after a midweek rest and it was evident throughout a first half that the Reds dominated.

Liverpool were 3-0 up by half-time thanks to Ibrahima Konate's early header and a Sadio Mane double, with City goalkeeper Zack Steffen at fault for the Senegal forward's first goal.

Jack Grealish pulled one back early in the second period and Bernardo Silva's late tap-in forced a tense finish, but Liverpool held on.

Jurgen Klopp's men were ahead inside nine minutes, Konate towering above everyone to head home Andrew Robertson's corner.

It was 2-0 soon after. Where Ederson escaped a goal-line blunder in their Premier League showdown last weekend, Steffen was punished by Mane as the attacker's tackle saw the ball ricochet into the net.

City seemingly found themselves all but beaten on the stroke of half-time, Mane lashing home on the volley after a sublime Thiago Alcantara pass.

Grealish picked out the top-left corner with a lovely finish of his own just after the restart, and Silva nudged in from close range in second-half stoppage time to set Liverpool nerves jangling.

But it was too little, too late for City as two fantastic defensive blocks helped Liverpool hold firm to reach a first FA Cup final in 10 years.

Manchester City say they are "extremely disappointed" with a section of their fans that made noise during a minute's silence ahead of their FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

The silence was to mark 33 years since the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 97 Liverpool supporters.

Although it appeared to be a small number of City fans making noise, it was clearly audible throughout the stadium and led to understandably angry boos from the Liverpool fans.

A statement released by City during the game read: "Manchester City are extremely disappointed with the actions of some City supporters during the minute’s silence before today’s game.

"The club sincerely apologises to all those connected with Liverpool Football Club."

 

Kyle Walker and Kevin De Bruyne lost their race to be fit to start for Manchester City in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.

The duo were doubts after suffering knocks in the Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid in midweek.

While De Bruyne was named among the City substitutes for the meeting between the Premier League titles at Wembley – the second encounter between the sides in the space of six days – Walker missed out altogether.

Ruben Dias was also included on the City bench after being out since late February due to injury, with a pairing of John Stones and Nathan Ake tasked with stopping Liverpool's forward line of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz.

Zack Steffen replaced Ederson in goal, while there were also starts for Jack Grealish, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling.

Fernandinho took the captain's armband after replacing Rodri in midfield, just days after revealing he intends to leave City at the end of the season.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson was left out of Jurgen Klopp's starting XI, with a midfield of Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita.

Salah and Mane returned after being named on the bench in the Champions League against Benfica in midweek, while Ibrahima Konate was again preferred to Joel Matip in defence alongside Virgil van Dijk.

Alisson sees similarities between himself and Brazil colleague Ederson but accepts the Manchester City goalkeeper "looks more cool".

Liverpool keeper Alisson moved to the Premier League in 2018, 12 months after Ederson had signed for City.

The two have since set the standard in England and beyond, establishing themselves as two of the best shot-stoppers in world football.

Alisson has the gloves for Brazil, earning 54 caps to Ederson's 18, but there is little to separate the pair.

They each have 17 clean sheets in the Premier League this season – five more than their nearest rivals – while only Josa Sa (10.0) and David de Gea (6.0) have prevented more goals according to expected goals on target data.

Alisson has saved 75.6 per cent of the on-target shots he has faced, preventing 1.7 goals, with Ederson's save percentage of 71.0 slightly lower as he has prevented 1.8 goals.

Where Ederson comes out on top, though, is with the ball at his feet. Alisson's passing accuracy of 84.8 per cent ranks second among Premier League keepers but trails his countryman's outstanding 88.4 per cent. The City man is the only keeper in the division to complete more than half of his long passes (56.4 per cent), too.

Ederson's ability in possession was on show last week in a moment that garnered plenty of attention when Alisson and Liverpool visited the Etihad Stadium for a 2-2 draw.

A rare slack touch in his six-yard box, with Diogo Jota closing in, did not concern Ederson, who calmly played a square pass along his goal-line – showing the cool that makes him stand out.

 

"Ederson is a fantastic goalkeeper, fantastic guy as well, really nice," Alisson told Liverpool's official website ahead of another meeting with City in the FA Cup semi-finals.

"We have a good relationship playing together in the national team, fighting for a place in the team. 

"The things that he has achieved with his team as well are big, the level he's playing as well is high. 

"He's among the top goalkeepers in the world – maybe top three, four in my opinion. One of the best with the feet, if not the best. 

"I think we have a similar approach to the game. We are calm on the pitch, calm with the ball, players who like to play with the team as well, like to build up. We also play with teams who like to build up from behind – not only long kicks. This helps us. 

"I think he looks more cool than me – sometimes I am more angry or put more energy on things.

"Each one of us has our own skills, our own characters, but we are performing really well and in a consistent way as well."

Ederson's unerring calm was highlighted by Pep Guardiola this week, telling reporters: "This guy is crazy, honestly. Sometimes, I think, if he doesn't feel something...

"For me, for a keeper, it's top to have that feeling. Concede a goal? He's calm. Make a save? He's calm. He's so stable and, as a keeper, it's fantastic.

"For the people outside, it's completely different. In that moment, I thought it couldn't be as close [to the line]; after, I saw the image on TV. It's one inch to the goal, and it doesn't matter."

Pep Guardiola likened Manchester City's rivalry with Liverpool to an NBA playoffs series as he challenged his players to slam dunk their way into the FA Cup final.

City have a second treble in their sights this term, having previously completed a clean sweep of the three English domestic trophies in the 2018-19 season.

They can capture the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League this time, but Liverpool are a team who might deny them on all fronts, making Saturday's Wembley semi-final a tantalising prospect.

Guardiola said he had no regrets about City's disappointing record in FA Cup semi-finals during his reign. They have won only one of four matches at the last-four stage in this competition under his command, beating Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 on the way to the 2019 showpiece before crushing Watford 6-0 in the final.

Arsenal have beaten City twice at this stage during Guardiola's reign, and Chelsea surprisingly had their number last season in the semi-finals.

Ahead of his fifth such occasion, Guardiola said: "I would have loved from five semi-finals to reach five finals and win all five finals. This would have been my dream, but the word 'regret', I don't have it.

"I don't have any regrets for my players. When they're losing I am closer to them.

"We arrive now one month and a half to the end of the season, we are in the position of having two semi-finals in the big competitions.

"We are in the Premier League on top of the league, and we are in the semi-finals of the other two competitions.

"Come on, it's so great. We are so satisfied about what we have done so far, but it is not enough. So try one more time, one more time, one more game, one more game."

Saturday's clash will be the first FA Cup meeting between City and Liverpool since Gerard Houllier's Reds ran out 1-0 winners away from home against Kevin Keegan's men in 2003, with Danny Murphy netting the winner.

It follows just six days after the teams met in the Premier League, battling out a gripping 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium, and with both sides through to the Champions League semi-finals, there is a possible further meeting on the horizon in the final of that competition.

Guardiola was asked if he had ever known such a rivalry where two sides were so dominant across a host of competitions, prompting him to point to a rivalry between his Barcelona and Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid in the 2010-11 season.

As that campaign boiled to its peak, the Clasico foes played one another four times in 18 days, consisting of two legs of a Champions League semi-final, a Copa del Rey final, and a LaLiga game.

Barcelona took the Champions League honours and went on to beat Manchester United in the final, Madrid won the Copa del Rey, and the league game finished in stalemate, with Guardiola's team soon securing the title.

Just as then with Madrid, Guardiola is always wanting to learn more about the opposition.

"Of course, always you learn – every time you play against Liverpool you learn another thing," he said.

"It's like the playoffs in basketball. When you play in a short time many times. We played them one week ago and this is the second. With Madrid... it was like a real playoff."

Kevin De Bruyne has had stitches in a lower-leg injury, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola revealed on the eve of the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.

In-form playmaker De Bruyne and right-back Kyle Walker are doubtful for the Wembley game after both missed training on Friday.

Both De Bruyne and Walker hobbled out of City's 0-0 draw at Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday. Walker has a twisted ankle.

Guardiola said De Bruyne's injury was not a muscular issue and mentioned the midfielder's calf and foot when asked about the problem.

To lose him or Walker – or even both senior men – for such a major occasion would be a blow to City.

"We will see tomorrow. Apparently, it will be so close after what happened on Wednesday, but we will see," Guardiola said.

City are chasing a treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League titles that has only been achieved once before, by Manchester United 23 years ago.

Walker's injury was described by Guardiola as "a big twist, but it's getting better".

"We will see in the next hours, the next days. In football these kinds of things happen. We will adapt, adjust and go from here," Guardiola said. "Kevin had stitches after he had contact – it's not a muscular injury."

City, who have been preparing for the Liverpool game at Millwall's training ground in south London, are feeling the strain at this stage of the season.

They have travelled from Madrid to London, rather than preparing in Manchester and then making another long journey, with Guardiola pointing to the demands of broadcasters as the reason his team must play such an important game less than 72 hours since their last huge assignment in Spain.

"We have to adapt," Guardiola added.

He said City could "dream to be in better conditions, but it's not going to happen", given the tight turnaround.

De Bruyne scored in last Sunday's 2-2 Premier League draw with Liverpool, who were also in Champions League action on Wednesday, reaching the semi-finals at Benfica's expense.

"We're going to perform well. Like I said to the players, I don't want any excuse," Guardiola said.

"It is what it is and for that we have to go there tomorrow in Wembley Stadium and try to do our game."

Jack Grealish has revealed his Manchester City team-mates have told him to become more selfish in front of goal.

England winger Grealish was a £100million signing for City at the start of the season but has scored just four goals in all competitions since leaving Aston Villa.

However, this is as much due to the 26-year-old's selfless play in front of goal as any wayward finishing.

Grealish has slightly underperformed his expected goals tally of 6.2, but he has attempted only one shot for every 30 touches on average.

Fellow winger Riyad Mahrez has averaged a shot every 17 touches, Gabriel Jesus every 19 touches, Raheem Sterling every 21 touches and Phil Foden every 23 touches.

Even Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, who can occasionally play in deeper roles, average shots every 24 and 27 touches respectively.

It is no surprise then that Grealish's City colleagues are calling on him to shoot more often.

"I shoot way less than anyone," he told BBC Sport. "I'm not even sure why, the guys say it here. Like say if I score in training, the lads are like, 'why don't you shoot more?'

"I probably should become more selfish. But I don't really count myself as a selfish player. If someone's in a better position I'm going to pass it to them.

"I actually love the feeling of having an assist – players coming over and thanking you for their goal. It's just nice. Scoring is the best feeling in football, but I just love assisting."

Yet Grealish has only supplied three assists this term – "I should definitely have more assists," he says – even if the deeper statistics are more forgiving.

He has created 66 chances, including 64 from open play; both rank third among City players. Those include nine 'big chances', from which Opta would expect a player to score, explaining his expected assists total of 5.9.

These numbers have been relayed to Grealish by the City staff, offering encouragement during a slightly tricky debut campaign.

"I can see why people [focus on goals and assists], but it's been so much different," he said.

"I sat down with the manager and the analyst guys from City, they've showed me stats that you want to see as an attacking player that aren't goals and assists – expected assists, passes in the final third, successful passes in the final third and stuff like this, where I've been quite successful in.

"I just need a few to fall my way and then they'll come."

Thanks to the FA Cup semi-finals, matchday 33 in the Premier League is a bit more spread out, with just six games taking place at the weekend.

A further six games are scheduled for midweek, so there is a chance to get some of those pulling double duty in your fantasy team.

Whether your interests lie in the title race, the top-four scuffle or the relegation battle, there promises to be entertainment for everyone.

Therefore, it is time for Stats Perform to give you some suggested picks for your team using stats from the wonderful people at Opta.

HUGO LLORIS (Tottenham v Brighton and Hove Albion)

As odd as it sounds after a 4-0 win, had it not been for Lloris' heroics between the sticks last time out, Spurs could very well have lost against Aston Villa.

The Spurs captain made seven saves in the first half at Villa Park to keep Steven Gerrard's team out, with the visitors scoring four from their five on target in an afternoon of ruthless efficiency that had Antonio Conte smiling.

Only Alisson and Ederson (both 17) have kept more clean sheets in the Premier League this season than Lloris (12), while the Frenchman last recorded more shutouts in a single campaign in 2017-18 (15).

JOAO CANCELO (Manchester City v Brighton and Hove Albion)

This feels like we're picking on Brighton, but the fixture computer has not been kind to them, pitting them against two of the league's most in-form teams this week.

Only Gabriel Jesus (seven) has more assists for City in the Premier League this season than Joao Cancelo (six), as many as in his previous three league seasons combined.

As well as that, Cancelo is part of a staunch City defence that has conceded the fewest goals in the league this season (20), and against a Brighton side that has scored fewer goals (28) than all except Burnley (25) and Norwich (20), will be confident of a clean sheet on Wednesday.

JAMES MADDISON (Newcastle United v Leicester City, Everton v Leicester City)

Maddison is somewhat of an enigmatic player and, not that long ago, was struggling to start in Brendan Rodgers' strongest line-up.

However, he has already equalled his goal involvements tally for the entirety of last season in the Premier League (13), with the former Norwich man only bettering that in 2018-19 (14).

Indeed, he has either scored or assisted in each of his last three league appearances (one goal, two assists), last doing so in four such games in January 2021 (three goals, one assist).

CHRIS WOOD (Newcastle United v Leicester City, Newcastle United v Crystal Palace)

It has hardly been an electric start for life on Tyneside for Wood since his January move, though goals drying up for his former club and relegation rivals Burnley has been a positive added factor for the Magpies.

The New Zealander scored a crucial penalty in the 1-0 win against Wolves last time out, though, and he is looking to bag in consecutive league games for the first time since May 2021 (run of three).

Also, only against West Ham (seven) and Wolves (six) does Wood have more Premier League goals than he has previously managed against Leicester (four).

Manchester City and Liverpool are going from one blockbuster meeting to another, and an FA Cup semi-final awaits on Saturday for Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

It would be easy to assume this is almost customary when teams are as dominant as City and Liverpool have been domestically of late, but it is not strictly the case.

Their Wembley showdown will be just the third FA Cup semi-final clash of the Premier League era between teams who have begun the day in the top two of the latter competition.

Considering this is the 30th season of the Premier League, it goes to show such showdowns cannot be taken for granted.

It has been even more rare for the eventual top two in the Premier League to contest an FA Cup final, with Chelsea denying Manchester United a double in 2006-07 in the only example of that game coming to fruition.

Here, Stats Perform looks back at the two previous FA Cup semi-finals to feature the then current Premier League top two. Could City and Liverpool, packed with attacking talent, produce drama to match these thrillers?


1999: Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal (replay, after 0-0 in first game), Villa Park

Memorable moment: David Beckham scored from 30 yards, and Peter Schmeichel saved a Dennis Bergkamp penalty, but the replay in front of a smattering over 30,000 fans at Villa Park will be remembered almost exclusively for Ryan Giggs' chest hair. Sorry... goal. Yes, definitely for his goal.

Injury limited Giggs to just 24 league appearances that season, and he managed just five goal involvements across those games (3 goals, 2 assists), the fewest he would have in a Premier League campaign until 2012-13 and 2013-14, his twilight final years as a player.

After Beckham's fine first-half opener, Arsenal drew level in the 69th minute when Bergkamp scored from similarly long range with the help of a deflection, and United were in trouble when Roy Keane was sent off five minutes later. Schmeichel came to the rescue with a spot-kick save after Phil Neville tripped Ray Parlour at the death in normal time, and then it was over to Giggs. Vintage Giggs.

Early in the second half of extra time, a stray pass from Patrick Vieira was intercepted 15 yards inside United's half by Giggs in left midfield. From there he snaked through a weary Arsenal rearguard, showing remarkable close control of a bobbling ball on a pitch that was cutting up, before smashing a shot past David Seaman at his near post. Off came his shirt, Giggs celebrating wildly, United on their way to the final.

What came next: United had been a point ahead of Arsenal and third-placed Chelsea in the Premier League title race, and it remained close all the way, with victory over Tottenham on the final day making sure Alex Ferguson's side won that title. They carried off the FA Cup too, goals from Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes earning a 2-0 win over Newcastle United, and the most special moment came at Camp Nou, where Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struck late to give the Red Devils a famous 2-1 success over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final, and the first and only such treble by an English club. City might match that this season, while Liverpool could even top it, having already won the EFL Cup, with the FA Cup, Champions League and Premier League still in their sights.

2017: Chelsea 4-2 Tottenham, Wembley

Memorable moment: Nemanja Matic sealed the spoils for Chelsea with a remarkable 30-yard drive into the top corner, as the Premier League's then London elite met at Wembley.

Chelsea were four points ahead of Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham at the top of the table, with Antonio Conte looking good to mark his first season in England with silverware. They had a double in their sights too, and although Tottenham twice came from behind to cancel out two goals from Willian in this semi-final, thanks to Harry Kane and Dele Alli, it was Chelsea who prevailed thanks to substitute Eden Hazard's sizzling low strike and a remarkable finish from Matic 10 minutes from time.

Fed a short pass by Hazard, Matic lashed an unstoppable left-footed drive into the top-right corner, thudding in off the underside of the crossbar.

What came next: Chelsea duly wrapped up the league title with two games to spare as Tottenham reluctantly settled for second, seven points off the pace in the final reckoning. But for all their domestic dominance up to that point, a savage twist arrived in the FA Cup final, where Arsenal awaited them. Arsene Wenger's Gunners finished only fifth in the Premier League, but they had kept something in reserve for Wembley as goals from Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey gave the Gunners the trophy.

Conte got his hands on the FA Cup a year later but was sacked before the new season began; after returning to football with Inter, and landing a Scudetto in Milan, Conte could not resist a return to London when Tottenham came calling last November.

Along with Brenden Aaronson and Luka Sucic, Karim Adeyemi is part of a young core enjoying a breakout season at Salzburg.

In his third season in the Austrian Bundesliga, the 20-year-old has come up with 16 goals and three assists in 24 league appearances, and earned his first international cap for Germany last September.

Reports also suggest that a return to Germany at domestic level is imminent.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND CLOSE IN ON ADEYEMI

Borussia Dortmund and Salzburg have reached a basic agreement over the transfer of Karim Adeyemi, according to reports from Sky Sport Germany.

After several rounds of talks, this week has finally seen a breakthrough between the two clubs, with €35million the reported fee the two clubs have agreed on.

However, Dortmund are still to arrive at a point that satisfies Adeyemi and his representatives on personal terms.

According to the report, all three parties are looking to finalise the deal, but RB Leipzig, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain also remain interested.

ROUND-UP

Harry Kane is set to turn down a move to Manchester United, with Erik ten Hag reportedly due to take over at Old Trafford instead of Kane's former boss Mauricio Pochettino, the Mirror reports.

– United have been given a boost in their pursuit of Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger however, as talks with Barcelona have reportedly stalled, according to the Sun.

Newcastle United have targeted Sevilla's Diego Carlos as a viable alternative if Sven Botman opts to join Milan, per the Chronicle.

– Football Insider reports Villarreal are seeking to permanently sign Giovani Lo Celso from Tottenham, having had the 26-year-old on loan since January.

– Meanwhile, Football Insider also reports that Manchester City have made Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni their top priority to replace Fernandinho.

Diego Simeone appeared to suggest he felt disrespected by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola at the end of an enthralling Champions League quarter-final tie.

There was only one goal across the two legs, scored by Kevin De Bruyne in the first match at the Etihad Stadium.

But Atletico pushed City all the way in a goalless draw at the Wanda Metropolitano, despite losing Felipe to his second red card of the campaign in a frantic finale.

The two teams registered just six shots on target over the whole tie – the fewest since four between Deportivo La Coruna and Porto in 2003-04 – yet City held firm, becoming only the fourth team since the introduction of the last 16 to keep a clean sheet in both legs of the first two knockout rounds.

While it was City's defensive strength that saw them through, Simeone seemingly took issue with Guardiola's assessment of Atletico's own largely conservative approach. Atletico had frustrated their opponents in Manchester while not attempting a single shot.

"I have no reason to give my opinion about what someone else says, good or bad," Simeone said after Wednesday's draw.

"Very intelligent people with a great vocabulary can, while using words of praise, show they despise you. But those of us who don't have the same vocabulary are not stupid."

Guardiola insisted he had not criticised Atletico, speculating whether the reporter who quizzed him on the topic had in fact been "one of those who said the time of Cholo Simeone was over".

"Don't tell me," the City boss replied. "I have always had good words of praise for this club and for this team. Cholo can play how he wants, obviously. I've said I appreciate it and you saw it here."

But Guardiola still focused on the difficulties of playing a team who approach the game like Atletico.

"They did what they do very well," he said. "It's been like this here before, it was like this tonight and it will be like this for goodness knows how long.

"They're a team that knows how to play this way like no one else in the world."

Simeone was certainly content with the way Atletico handled their task, if not the end result, while he refused to question City's apparent time-wasting – an issue that bristled with club captain Koke, who said the LaLiga champions would be accused of "anti-football" for following suit.

"I think that football has a lot of different dimensions and I'm not going to comment on how Manchester City behaved," Simeone said.

"It is you [the media] who are very capable, you see everything very clinically and obviously you always express an opinion, because football is full of opinions, but we keep ours to ourselves.

"I think playing against possibly the best team in the world and showing that we were able to compete very well doesn't leave me feeling okay, it doesn't leave me feeling happy at all, because the only thing that leaves me happy is winning.

"I feel f***ed, but it gives me the peace of mind that when I go to bed I will say that today my father, Luis Aragones and those who passed away in the pandemic will have seen from above their team continues to compete extremely well."

Pep Guardiola was unhappy with his team's performance, despite Manchester City's progression past Atletico Madrid to the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday.

Following their 1-0 win in the first leg, City advanced with a goalless draw at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday, but they were increasingly on the back foot as the second leg progressed.

There was a prevailing sense Atleti would be the team to find a higher gear in the second half, and if not for some desperate City defending once pinned in their own half, the tie could have gone to extra time at the very least.

Guardiola admitted City were fortunate to progress against an Atleti side well-prepared by Diego Simeone, especially as the closing exchanges grew more frenetic.

"They [Atletico] played very well, they put us in our own half and there was no way out. We had forgotten how to play," Guardiola told Movistar+ post-match. "We're celebrating but we could very well have been eliminated. Atletico played a great second half.

"Today we could have been knocked out of a competition and luckily we continue. They were very good and when they push, it can be very complicated. We resisted, but it could have fallen the other way.

"The coaches from the sidelines, with the atmosphere, the players don't listen to us. They were just trying to control the ball, but we didn't control the ball and when you don't control the ball, they can use it very well."

Guardiola's side never really clicked on Wednesday, even after Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden switched positions to give City greater presence in the centre of pitch.

Once the likes of Rodrigo de Paul and Angel Correa came on for Atleti, there was an outlet and end product to their dominance between the penalty areas.

Along with the performance, City will now be without Joao Cancelo when they face Real Madrid in the semi-finals, while Kyle Walker and Kevin de Bruyne came off injured.

The 51-year-old coach understands, however, simplicity is a luxury at this stage of the competition.

"The only thing missing is if it wasn't complicated," he said. "The king of the competition. It's the third semi-final in our history in the Champions League.

"We've repeated last year's and it's a success for us. If we play like we did in the second half on the other hand, we will not have a choice. We will try to raise our level."

John Stones praised Manchester City's resolve, following a testy 0-0 draw that saw them advance past Atletico Madrid to the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday.

Following City's 1-0 win in the first leg, it was a characteristically intense atmosphere both on and off the pitch at the Wanda Metropolitano, even boiling over at the end with Felipe's late red card.

City were fortunate not to concede in the second half once Atleti coach Diego Simeone brought the likes of Angel Correa and Rodrigo de Paul on from the substitutes bench, with Ederson called into action several times.

England international Stones commended his side's ability to keep Atleti at bay on the pitch, as well as not get baited into immature responses following duels.

"We know that they sometimes try and make things happen like that and we dealt with it really well," Stones told BT Sport. "It is not nice to talk about and I don't want to dwell on it because over the two legs we played incredible against such an experienced side in what they do, we kept our tempers and it is easy to get drawn into stuff like that.

"We knew it was not an easy place to come, it is a hostile environment, it was a difficult night all round and how we defended and controlled ourselves over the two legs was incredible."

Even when there was relative parity in the first, there was a sense Atleti had another gear, with Pep Guardiola opting for Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne with Rodri in midfield.

As the changes came and De Bruyne came off injured, Simeone's side largely controlled the second half, and put up 13 shots to City's two.  

Guardiola praised his side's resilience, despite admitting they had lost control as the game progressed.

"They are the champions of Spain and they played with energy in the second half . They were better than us and we were lucky we didn't concede," Guardiola told BT Sport. "In the first half we had chances, overall we are in the semi-finals – it is well deserved.

"The opponent is so tough, all the teams in Champions League come here and suffer so it is important we go through."

Diego Simeone was satisfied his Atletico Madrid players gave "everything" they had as they exited the Champions League quarter-finals at the hands of Manchester City on Wednesday.

The LaLiga side put in a spirited second-half display at the Wanda Metropolitano, yet a goalless draw meant they suffered a 1-0 aggregate defeat.  

The tetchy match spilled over in the closing stages, with both sets of players clashing after Felipe's foul on Phil Foden – a challenge that saw the defender receive a second yellow card.

Simeone was also booked in stoppage-time after entering the pitch in an apparent attempt to calm down Stefan Savic, who was involved in running battles with City players throughout the game.

The ugly scenes continued in the tunnel after the game as videos circulated on social media showing the players being separated by police.

Simeone did not want to be drawn on the controversy, instead hailing the efforts of his side and the contribution made by the home crowd, who gave the players a rousing reception at full-time.

"The reaction at the end shows the pride of seeing a team that competes," he told Movistar. "It gives us the peace of mind that we have given everything to get through the tie.

"The crowd was enormous throughout the match. The team responded to what the people were looking for and that relationship is difficult to see in the stadiums, that people respect you after being eliminated.

"What is clear to me is that we are proud of who we are, of how we compete. We are out and it hurts, but I love seeing people celebrate when things go well and not so well."

Asked if his attempts to encourage the crowd to clap in the closing minutes was in response to City's perceived time-wasting, Simeone said: "No, please. I was applauding people because I was appreciating the effort the team was making. How can I not applaud people like that?"

The result means Atleti are now winless in their past eight home games in the Champions League.

However, goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who only had one save to make on Wednesday, believes Atleti did enough over the two legs to progress to the last four.  

"It's a shame," he said. "We made a great effort, a great match, we deserved more. We are disappointed, but we did everything we could to score and win the match.

"In the first game, they were better and in the second, we were better. If you put the two games together, we've had more chances. In the end, it wasn't enough to go through to the semis."

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