Second-half goals from Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva put Manchester City back on top of the Premier League as Brighton and Hove Albion were consigned to a 3-0 defeat.

Liverpool had moved to the summit with a 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United on Tuesday, but Pep Guardiola's side responded 24 hours later to keep their fate in their own hands in the title race.

Deflected strikes from Mahrez and Foden put the champions in command at the Etihad Stadium and Silva added a third as they moved a point ahead of the Reds with six games to play after losing to Jurgen Klopp's men in an FA Cup semi-final last Saturday.

City had been without a win in three matches, but normal service was resumed in their quest for a Premier League and Champions League double.

Moises Caicedo spared Robert Sanchez's blushes when he produced a brilliant challenge on Mahrez after the Seagulls goalkeeper gifted the City winger a chance to open the scoring early on with a terrible pass.

The hosts were not at their devastating best in the first half, but Brighton had another let-off when they made a mess of trying to play out from the back again and this time Lewis Dunk came to the rescue by blocking Ilkay Gundogan's strike.

The fit-again Ruben Dias replaced Nathan Ake at the break to make his first appearance since March 1 and the City defender was fortunate to get away with late challenge on Alexis Mac Allister soon after his introduction.

Kevin De Bruyne was the architect for the opening goal eight minutes into the second half, bursting forward from inside his own half before picking out Mahrez, who benefited from a couple of fortunate deflections before his finish struck Dunk and beat Sanchez.

Foden doubled City's lead 12 minutes later, this time Enock Mwepu sticking out a leg in an attempt to keep out the midfielder's drive from outside the box but seeing the ball flash past a helpless Sanchez.

There was concern for City when John Stones was withdrawn late on after sustaining an injury, but Silva put the icing on the cake with a clinical left-foot finish in the 82nd minute as Brighton shot themselves in the foot again trying to play out from the back.

Liverpool can win the Premier League title despite having a tougher run-in than rivals Manchester City, according to former Reds defender Jose Enrique.

Enrique, who made 76 top-flight appearances for the Reds, also believes Jurgen Klopp's team could count the season as a success even if they do not record a second Premier League triumph under the German.

A 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United moved Klopp's men top of the league ahead of City hosting Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday, keeping the Reds in contention for an incredible quadruple.

After watching his old team rout United, Enrique believes Liverpool can go on to secure a 20th English top-flight title despite a seemingly less favourable run-in than fellow contenders City.

"I hope so, I really believe they can [win the league]," he told Stats Perform. "Listen, the reality is what Klopp and the players said, you depend on yourself for winning the remaining games, that's what you can do. 

"Let's see what happens, at the moment it's still in Manchester City's hands, that's the reality. They [Liverpool] can [only] do what they say, take it game-by-game and try to win all the remaining games.

"That isn't easy, obviously you're coming into Everton now, they are in a very bad moment, but again anything can happen.

"Obviously the most difficult fixtures on paper are for Liverpool, but I really believe they can do it.

"But it's true that if they win all the remaining games and at the end, they [still] don't win it, for me, it will still be a massive success for the club."

Liverpool's 4-0 thrashing of Ralf Rangnick's side, coupled with a 5-0 rout at Old Trafford earlier this campaign, means Klopp's team have hit nine goals past the Red Devils without reply this term, with only Sunderland in 1892-93 (11-0) ever recording a more dominant combined league triumph over United.

Although Enrique enjoyed watching Liverpool tear their rivals apart at Anfield, he expressed sympathy for Rangnick's team and said he would like to see the rivals face off on a more level playing field.

"You enjoy it, you know, nine goals against them this season, five away from home and four obviously at Anfield, a clean sheet in both of them." he added. 

"Listen, in a way I feel sorry about them [United]. Because the rivalry between both clubs has always been the best in the Premier League, this kind of game is even more important. 

"So, in a way, I would like actually a better game, you know, from that side, a little more complicated [for Liverpool], but at the same time, we're fighting for every single title."

The defeat represented a new low in another frustrating season for United, who are now winless in eight head-to-head clashes with Liverpool (three draws, five losses).

Enrique was exasperated by Bruno Fernandes suggesting his team had nothing to play for after the defeat, the Spaniard stating he has never seen a greater divide between players and fans at United.

"It's like they weren't playing for anything at Manchester," he added. "[But] you have to actually work to try to get in the top four, and then after the game, you see Bruno Fernandes having an interview and saying they aren't playing for anything and Liverpool is playing for a title. 

"They are actually trying to play to get into the top four, I don't know, I think I've never seen a United team like this season before.

"Definitely the difference between the clubs, at the moment, is massive, I really believe they need to get rid of some other players, there will be some of them that finish their contract as well.

"They need to get that manager that they trust, and then you can see the unity between the fans and club. I've never seen that before, you know?

"I think they [United's players and fans] are very very far away from each other… very, very far away. The farthest away I have seen."

New investment at Milan could see the Italian powerhouse target the best players across Europe's top clubs.

Milan have entered into exclusive talks with Bahrain-based asset manager Investcorp over a takeover.

The Rossoneri have been linked with Real Madrid's Marco Asensio and Isco and Liverpool's Divock Origi already.

TOP STORY – STERLING ON MILAN WISH LIST

Milan are monitoring Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The England international is among a list of players that Milan would like to sign amid a reported lucrative takeover by a Bahrain-based organisation.

Sterling's current contract with City expires in 2023, but the Daily Mail claims he would turn down the Italian move.

 

ROUND-UP

 Christian Eriksen is gaining interest from former employers Tottenham after a good run of form, although his agent is set to meet with Brentford at the end of this season to formalise his future, claims Fabrizio Romano.

– Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will hold talks at the end of this season to discuss his future having struggled for opportunities, reports Football.London.

– Jose Mourinho's Roma will open talks with Nemanja Matic's representatives as the Serbian midfielder prepares to leave Manchester United, reports Nicolo Schira.

– Manchester Evening News claims Manchester United have revived their interest in Villarreal defender Pau Torres.

Pep Guardiola will be an interested spectator when Liverpool host Manchester United on Tuesday, but he made it clear Manchester City's mission will not change regardless of the result.

United could do their neighbours a favour at Anfield in a fixture Liverpool approach just one point adrift of Premier League leaders City, whom the Reds beat 3-2 in the FA Cup semi-final last Saturday.

A draw or a defeat for the Reds would give City the chance to gain some extra breathing room at the summit when they face Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.

However, Guardiola knows a slip-up for Liverpool will only change things if City continue to do their job.

Speaking at a pre-match media conference, Guardiola said of the Liverpool-United clash: "We watch it as a fan. I watch at home, I want to know the result, would love United to get points but it won't change if we don't do our jobs in the next games. We can learn something for both teams.

"The challenge is the same as the last two weeks, the same, one point ahead. Every game a final, challenge and fight until the end."

Kyle Walker will play no part against Brighton after suffering an ankle injury in the Champions League against Atletico Madrid. Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan also sustained minor injuries in that clash last week, with their availability for the Brighton meeting yet to be determined.

Central defender Ruben Dias, meanwhile, is back in training after seven weeks out with a hamstring injury, and was an unused substitute at Wembley on Saturday.

"Kyle no. The other players are better, we will make a decision tomorrow," added Guardiola.

“Kyle we don't know yet [how long he will be out]. It's his ankle. He can't play tomorrow but the rest we don't know.

"Ruben is training really good, but we cannot forget he had seven weeks off and has not played one minute.

"Ruben is intelligent. He is a guy who knows his body.

"We are more than delighted he is back. Nathan Ake has made [an] incredible contribution. John Stones and Aymeric Laporte have played a lot of minutes, especially Aymer.

"It's good to have three or four central defenders."

Pep Guardiola refused to answer questions surrounding reports Manchester City are closing in on a deal for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland.

Reports have suggested City are ready to meet Haaland's €75million (£64m) release clause and that Haaland wants to join the reigning Premier League champions this summer.

City failed in a protracted effort to prise Harry Kane away from Tottenham before the start of this season, while forward Ferran Torres departed to join Barcelona in January.

Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez have carried the bulk of the goalscoring burden as City bid for a Premier League and Champions League double, while Gabriel Jesus, whose contract expires at the end of next season, has also been linked with a move away.

Haaland's arrival would see City atone for the disappointment of missing out on Kane by acquiring another of the most feared centre-forwards in world football.

But when asked about reports of them nearing the signing of the Dortmund forward, Guardiola told a media conference ahead of Wednesday's game with Brighton and Hove Albion: "No answer to your question. I have another concern in my head, to think what will happen in this club next season."

Pressed on the question of whether he needed to add a striker to his ranks, Guardiola replied: "We are playing without a striker.

"For many years I don't think about transfer windows, especially when we have incredible things to play for."

Haaland has scored 25 goals in 24 games in all competitions for Marco Rose's team this season, outperforming his expected goals tally of 22.2.

One of world football's hottest commodities, Erling Haaland, is reportedly set to join Manchester City in the next transfer window after agreeing to personal terms.

It has long been understood that Haaland would likely not return to Borussia Dortmund for another season, with the Bundesliga club entertaining offers from the world's biggest clubs.

Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain were considered Manchester City's biggest competition for the Norway forward's signature, but a massive contract, recent success and close personal ties to his father seem to have been the deciding factors.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND CHOOSES MANCHESTER CITY

The Daily Mail is reporting Haaland has agreed to a deal with Manchester City that will make him the highest-paid player in the Premier League at £500,000 per week.

With terms agreed, City are expected to trigger Haaland's £62.2million (€75m) release clause and sign him to a five-year deal, which could be announced in the next week.

His father, Alf-Inge Haaland, played at Manchester City from 2000-2003 and is said to have been "heavily involved in the negotiations".

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Goal, Real Madrid did not want to unsettle their dressing room by signing Haaland and making him the highest-paid player.

– Fichajes is reporting Real Madrid's attention will turn to Manchester United's Edinson Cavani now Haaland is out of the picture, while The Mirror claims Madrid have strong interest in Chelsea right-back Reece James.

Liverpool target Serge Gnabry is discussing a contract extension with Bayern Munich, according to Goal.

West Ham are hoping to add Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, with the England international likely to leave the club if they are relegated, per the Daily Mail.

Arsenal are in the box seat to land Marco Asensio from Real Madrid after Milan rejected his wage demands, reports CalcioMercato.

The joined actions of some of the most powerful figures in modern football unwittingly created an ever mightier alliance on April 18, 2021.

The announcement of a new European Super League united Manchester, with fans and players of United and City joining those invested in the fortunes of Liverpool and the three London giants of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham in opposition.

Although the reaction in Italy and Spain may not have been quite as damning, the protests that followed over the course of an extraordinary few days were enough to derail the plans.

A year on, Stats Perform looks back on one of the most controversial proposals in the sport's history and where it stands now.

What is/was the European Super League?

The past week has shown exactly what makes the Champions League great, whether Villarreal's upset of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid withstanding Chelsea's fightback, a thriller between Liverpool and Benfica in a tie widely considered over or the blood and thunder of Manchester City's defeat of Atletico Madrid.

But Arsenal and Tottenham did not qualify for the Champions League this season, while Barcelona and Milan failed to make it beyond the group stage.

In another season, another superpower – the clubs whose names and riches have made the Champions League what it is – might miss out on these great games.

That was the fear of a dozen leading sides, anyway. Barca had a prominent role, along with Real Madrid and Juventus, as the European Super League was launched.

The competition was to be backed by United States-based investment bank JP Morgan and managed by the owners of the founding clubs, who would be guaranteed entry to the competition.

Three clubs were hoped to join the initial 12, followed by five others qualifying each year to form a 20-team tournament, which would be split into two 10-team leagues prior to a knockout stage.

The idea was for the Super League to replace the lucrative Champions League, rather than domestic leagues – hence its inception on the eve of Champions League reforms. The interested parties even claimed the money raised would benefit "the wider football pyramid".

But the reception was widely critical, while there were notable absentees in the form of Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich, the previous campaign's Champions League finalists.

PSG had spent too much time – and, of course, money – establishing themselves among European football's elite to risk it all in the breakaway.

Meanwhile, Bayern, like most German clubs, are partly fan-owned. And it would soon become clear football fans in general were not enthused by the prospect of seeing Europe's best teams slog it out in a closed-shop tournament.

Then what?

The 12 clubs must have imagined some sort of response, but what followed appeared to stun those involved.

Their own players and coaches announced opposition, with many frustrated these plans had provided such a distraction at a key stage in the season. Notably, Jurgen Klopp fumed when Leeds United, Liverpool's next opponents, told the six-time European champions to "earn it" if they wanted to play in the Champions League.

The rest of football appeared united against those who had sought to cut loose, as former Manchester United captain Gary Neville called for the Old Trafford club to be relegated along with Liverpool and Arsenal.

Unsurprisingly, UEFA, FIFA and even the UK government railed against the Super League, too.

But most importantly, the fans – particularly in England – made clear they would not stand for this apparent betrayal of the sport and its roots.

Chelsea were the first team to back out of the European Super League while Petr Cech attempted to negotiate with furious supporters blocking the team's entrance to Stamford Bridge prior to a drab goalless draw against Brighton and Hove Albion.

With protests following at stadiums up and down the country, the Premier League clubs soon quit the breakaway competition, and they were joined by Inter, Milan and Atletico Madrid, as the Super League was declared dead mere hours after its birth.

Football had won, it was widely acknowledged.

And they all lived happily ever after?

Well, not quite. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have continued to pursue the European Super League, their owners refusing to relent.

The huge debts racked up during the coronavirus pandemic contributed to their desperation to land this lucrative deal, with Barca since forced to let club legend Lionel Messi leave on a free transfer due to their inability to afford a new contract for the 34-year-old.

Those who backed out of the controversial plans have at least returned to the European Club Association, in which PSG were huge beneficiaries of their reluctance to follow their elite rivals. Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the PSG president, now leads the ECA in a role that previously belonged to Juve chief Andrea Agnelli.

But even Barca, Madrid and Juve have been able to continue playing in UEFA competitions – those they have qualified for, anyway. Madrid have made the Champions League semi-finals as they bid for a record-extending 14th European crown.

And sceptics could be forgiven for wondering if the new Champions League format sounds a little 'European Super Leaguey'.

As of 2024-25, the group stages will be no more, replaced by – yes – a league. And although the competition is increasing in size to 36 teams, two of the additional four slots are reserved for clubs who have the highest UEFA coefficients but have qualified only for one of the organisation's lesser competitions.

Barca, who toiled in the early stages of this season, or Juve, facing a fight for a top-four finish in Serie A, would have to slump significantly not to be assured of a seat at the time.

The Super League is dead... but long live the Super League?

Jack Grealish firmly believes Manchester City can win a Premier League and Champions League double and insists their FA Cup loss to Liverpool will not affect their ambitions.

Pep Guardiola's men suffered a thrilling 3-2 semi-final defeat to Jurgen Klopp's team on Saturday, with Sadio Mane's double adding to Ibrahima Konate's opener to give the Reds a comfortable half-time lead.

Goals from Grealish and Bernardo Silva threatened an incredible turnaround, but City were unable to find a leveller and fell to their first Wembley defeat to Liverpool, having beaten them on penalties in both the 2016 League Cup final and the 2019 Community Shield.

City have now lost on four of their last five FA Cup semi-final appearances, but Grealish said the loss would not affect their attempts to beat Liverpool to the Premier League and Champions League trophies.

"Yes, 100 per cent [City can win both competitions]," he told the club's official media channels. "You go in there and look at the talent and experience that we have in that dressing room, I don't think anyone else in the league has one like it.

"Our performances and where we are in the league speak for itself. We just have to pick ourselves up, go again and hopefully by the end of the season we'll have [won] the Premier League and the Champions League.

"That's what you'll get at Manchester City, because you're always in [multiple] competitions come the end of the season, it's always game after game."

City's slow start to the encounter resulted in them conceding three first-half goals for the first time since April 2018, when they trailed the same opponents 3-0 at the break in the Champions League.

 

The former Aston Villa man conceded their poor display in the opening period ultimately cost them a place in the final, suggesting City would have levelled an absorbing tie had it gone on for just five more minutes.

"Obviously we started slow, for the whole of the first half Liverpool were on top," he added. "For us, it wasn't an ideal first half and in the end it cost us.

"I'm not going sit here and say excuses. I just think we came out slow. That was it. Liverpool have been the same as us, they've travelled the same amount as us in the last few weeks, played the same as us.

"We didn't have the first half that we wanted to, but we came in at half-time and the manager made a few changes. In the second half I think we were much better for it, but I think in the end it was too little, too late.

"With another five minutes I think we'd have gotten another goal, and if we took it to extra time there would only have been one winner, but it wasn't meant to be."

City will turn their attentions back to the Premier League when they host Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday, although they could begin that game in second place with Liverpool, one point behind the leaders, facing Manchester United one day earlier.

Sadio Mane pledged Liverpool will fight for a "dream" quadruple after scoring twice in the Reds' thrilling FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City.

Mane added to Ibrahima Konate's opener with a first-half double, closing down stand-in City goalkeeper Zack Steffen to score in bizarre fashion before netting a brilliant volley on the stroke of half-time to make it 3-0.

Goals at either end of the second half from Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva hauled City back into the contest, but Liverpool held firm.

Having scored in a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium last week, Mane has now netted 10 goals against City in all competitions, only finding the net more often against Crystal Palace (12) amongst Premier League teams.

After becoming the first Liverpool player to score a Wembley double since Steve McManaman did so in the 1995 EFL Cup final against Bolton Wanderers, Mane told BBC Sport: "I think from the start of the game we played very well. We started very well, everybody was on the front foot, we pressed them high. 

"We pushed them to make a mistake [for his first goal] and for that we got our reward.

"That's Liverpool, that's our style of play. Of course, it was not easy for them. I think that made the difference.

"I think today is special because we faced one of the best teams in the world. If you win this kind of game – especially a semi-final – of course, it's a big dream, a big win. We are very pleased and very happy to qualify for the final."

With the Reds progressing to their first FA Cup final since 2012, in addition to battling City for the Premier League title and facing Villarreal in the Champions League semi-finals, they could yet win an unprecedented quadruple.

"We'll see," he said. "We have a lot of games to go, we will try to do our best. 

"It's a dream, for sure. We'll go for it, we'll fight for it."

 

Mane's brace also made him the first Liverpool player to score an FA Cup semi-final double since Robbie Fowler netted twice in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa in 1996, and team-mate Thiago Alcantara was keen to highlight Mane's contribution.

"It talks about us, it talks about our hunger when we press like Sadio's [first] goal, it talks about the players we have in terms of Sadio's second goal, and also the great passers we have," he told Liverpool's official website.

"He [Mane] is a fighter with a lot of technique, so he knows how to mix it up and to do what we need. He was unbelievable.

"I think the first half was amazing, our best first half this season. Suddenly in the second half we just threw away the first half, but we are really happy with the qualification."

Liverpool's win was their first against City at Wembley, having lost both of their previous head-to-head clashes at the national stadium on penalties after 1-1 draws (the 2016 League Cup final and the 2019 Community Shield).

Manchester City's spirit against Liverpool cannot be questioned, according to Pep Guardiola, whose team exited the FA Cup on Saturday.

City went down 3-2 in their semi-final clash with the Reds at Wembley, as Jurgen Klopp's team took the bragging rights in this particular tussle and progressed to their 15th FA Cup final, albeit their first since 2012 (only Manchester United and Arsenal have appeared in the competition's showpiece match on more occasions).

Six days on from a thrilling 2-2 draw between City and Liverpool in the Premier League, a much-changed team from Guardiola found themselves 3-0 down at half-time.

Ibrahima Konate put Liverpool ahead early on and Sadio Mane doubled their tally in strange fashion when City's second-choice goalkeeper Zack Steffen made a blunder.

Mane's challenge on Steffen diverted the ball into the back of the net and the Liverpool forward got his second with a fine volley late in the first half.

Jack Grealish dragged City back into the contest and Bernardo Silva's goal set up some late tension, yet there would be no famous comeback.

Guardiola, though, could not fault the resolve of his team.

"Our momentum was there in the second half," he told BBC Sport.

"We had the chances to equalise. It was a difficult fixture because we came from somewhere like only we know where we came from, with games we had and the last five or six days away and people with the problems. The guys put in a lot of pride in the second half.

"We gave everything after a tough first half. 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."

 

Asked if his team were feeling fatigued after a tough run of fixtures, Guardiola said: "It was not a question of tired. They were more tired in the first [half], football is not about the tiredness, it is about what you do and how it works and how you play.

"We finally have one or two days off. We know we have seven games and the Champions League, we are going to try to push and see what happens."

City have now lost four of their last five matches at Wembley, including three FA Cup semi-finals in the last three seasons, while they conceded three goals in the first half of a match for the first time since April 2018, when they also did so against Liverpool in the Champions League.

Steffen had to hold his hands up for Liverpool's second goal and arguably should have done better for their third.

The United States international's error for Mane's first effort was similar to a mistake made by team-mate Ederson in last week's clash with Liverpool, though the Brazilian got away with it on that occasion. 

"It was an accident," Guardiola said. "One of the strong points is try to play [out] and as a goalkeeper he has this quality.

"It was an accident and he will learn for the future. When the ball is there it can always happen. I have spoken with the team, not him personally, but he is strong."

Pep Guardiola joined Manchester City in condemning the fans who chanted during a minute's silence for victims of the Hillsborough disaster prior to Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Wembley.

The game, which Jurgen Klopp's men won 3-2, was the closest Reds match to Friday's 33rd anniversary of the tragedy, which occurred during an FA Cup semi-final between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool in Sheffield.

A crush in the stands ultimately led to the unlawful deaths of 97 people.

Just before kick-off on Saturday, a minute's silence in memory of the victims began but was then cut short by referee Michael Oliver as some City fans could be heard chanting.

Although seemingly a minority of City supporters, it was clearly audible throughout the stadium and led to angry boos from 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."

In his post-match media conference, Guardiola was asked if he wanted to add anything to the statement made by the club.

"Absolutely," he said. "The club made a statement, they [responsible for the chanting] don't represent who we want to be.

"We are close to Liverpool, who went through this tragedy and I think the statement from the club represents who we are."

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp later accepted City's apology, saying at his news conference: "Some people didn't understand the situation.

"It was not nice and felt really wrong in the moment. Of course we accept City's apology."

Jurgen Klopp was overjoyed after seeing Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-2 to reach the FA Cup final in their pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple, convinced they beat the world's best team.

Liverpool secured their spot in the English football showpiece for the first time since 2012 with a thrilling victory at Wembley on Saturday, though for a while it looked set to be far more comfortable than it ultimately proved.

The Reds were 3-0 up at half-time thanks to an Ibrahima Konate header and Sadio Mane's double – his first punished a Zack Steffen lapse, before then lashing in an excellent volley for his second.

City pulled one back through Jack Grealish and forced a tense finish when Bernardo Silva made it 3-2 in stoppage time, but Liverpool held on to leave Klopp jubilant.

"Oh absolutely proud, it's incredible," he told BBC Sport. "I think the first half was one of the best we've ever played.

"We did all the right stuff, scored at the right moments, we played an incredible game in the first half, I have to say. I loved every second of it.

"The second half started with the City goal and then it opens up. The quality of City is insane and you could see it was a much more open game.

"We had our situations. [TV pundit] Micah Richards said it was all City situations, but we had our counter-attacks and we could have closed the game there, but we respect the quality of City so much.

"It's so difficult to win against them, but because of these boys in my dressing room, we have a chance. It's enough for me to give it a try."

The victory means Liverpool remain on course for the quadruple. They have already won the EFL Cup, are into the Champions League semi-finals and continue to push City in the Premier League title race.

Klopp stressed that prolonging their season makes winning the quadruple tougher even if it is the only way to secure a clean sweep, but he appeared to be relishing the challenge after defeating the team that he believes sets the bar for everyone else in world football.

"Quadruple talk… I can't believe it," he continued. "With this game now, I'm not sure we have another full week before the last matchday, so it's all difficult.

"But who cares, we came here wanting to go to the final, we knew about the problems, but the quadruple – qualifying for this kind of final makes it even more difficult.

"It's the only way to do it but makes it more difficult too, so it's a strange situation. But all good, we are over the moon. We beat the best team in the world and that's a pretty special moment."

Liverpool will find out their opponents for next month's final on Sunday, when Crystal Palace and Chelsea tussle at Wembley.

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."

 

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