Liverpool had a comfortable 90 minutes at Wembley Stadium on Saturday in the FA Cup semifinal vs. Manchester City. The final four minutes of stoppage time weren’t so comfortable as a late City push made for an exciting 3-2 finale victory for Liverpool.
American goalkeeper Zack Steffen can be given a lot of credit for making Liverpool’s afternoon so easy. Steffen had a disastrous first half that saw him concede three goals including an all-time blunder.
This was the first time in four years that Pep Guardiola’s City had conceded three goals in a first half. The last time it happened: Liverpool scored three against City in the Champions League quarterfinals in 2018.
Sadio Mané secured a brace and unlikely goal scorer as of late Ibrahima Konaté scored the opener for the Reds.
KONATE HEADS IT HOME TO PUT LIVERPOOL 1-0 UP OVER CITY pic.twitter.com/Pc3NvlLTGW
MANE CATCHES ZACK STEFFEN SLEEPING pic.twitter.com/X7GYqHqB04
WHAT A FINISH BY MANELIVERPOOL ARE DOMINATING CITY 3-0! pic.twitter.com/6VpgGRzUt0
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 16, 2022
Konaté now has three goals in his last three games. Not bad for a center back that only had one goal in the last three years before this latest scoring streak.
If you happened to watch the game on ESPN+ then you’re aware of how ironic the halftime show was. The ESPN pundits had a field day grilling Jack Grealish for not being good enough. They were saying that he’s not at Aston Villa anymore and needs to actually perform.
Grealish then scored less than two minutes into the second half.
Grealish gets a goal back for City! pic.twitter.com/30hVhZUKdY
With City scoring so quickly into the second half it felt like we were in for a wild second half ride. This wouldn’t be the case as the game sort of drifted on. Despite City in desperate need of goals it felt like the semifinal’s pace and urgency disappeared.
The next best chance that City saw was in the 70th minute when Gabriel Jesus was in one-on-one with Alisson but couldn’t sneak the ball by his fellow Brazilian.
After that chance the game appeared to be heading toward a somewhat dull conclusion. Riyad Mahrez replaced Jesus in the 82nd minute and ended up being the player to spark life late on in the game.
Mahrez set up Bernardo Silva for a goal in the 91st minute and suddenly City only needed one goal.
City jolted back to life and actually looked like themselves again for some sporadic final minutes of stoppage time. Mahrez and Fernandinho both had quality chances deflected over Liverpool’s goal as the clock ran out on City.
Liverpool now has the opportunity to win its first FA Cup final since 2006. The last time the Reds made it to the final was in 2012 when they were defeated by Chelsea.
Liverpool will play the winner of Chelsea-Crystal Palace in the final on May 15.