Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the semi-final of the 2021/22 FA Cup, in their bid to win a quadruple this season.
One of the most revered fixture of the current times – Man City vs Liverpool tends to excite the whole footballing world. While it brings the most out of the players of each of the teams, managers, too, don’t shy back to battle it out for the title of “the best manager” in the world currently.
Meanwhile, the last meeting between the two sides was not so long ago. Manchester City hosted Liverpool, last week, on Sunday in top of a table clash between the two that resulted in a draw. Though the scoreline suggested a 2-all draw, the match was far more than a spectacle showcased on the digital screen. The pace, aggression, pressing, passing, attack, elite managerial tactics, fans screaming, and much more. Nothing is ever seen like it, ever before! And that is the mutual feeling shared by all, who watch this fixture, not just once but every single time the Reds from the Merseyside and the Blues from Manchester lock horns. And, hopefully, this time won’t be any different.
When & Where?
Venue- Wembley Stadium.
Day & Date- Saturday, 16th April 2022.
Time- 2.30 pm GMT.
The History between the two in the FA Cup
To most of you reading this, it might come as a surprise that City and Liverpool last met in an FA Cup fixture way back in 2003, when Gerrard Houllier’s Reds emerged as the 1-0 victors over Kevin Keegan’s men. Well, it adds up to some advantage if to go by the stat in this particular competition. But I must remind you that, City and Liverpool, both have come a long way since then – from City’s Etihad takeover to Liverpool’s Klopp reign, a lot has changed!
Meanwhile, the Cityzens and the Reds have met twice before at the Wembley, both ending in a 1-all draw. However, the Blues from Manchester emerged as the real victors on both of the occasions on penalties, in 2016 (League Cup Final) and in 2019 (Community Shield) respectively.
Last 6 meetings between both the sides
Liverpool: 1 ; Man City: 2 ; Draw: 3
Likewise, their last meeting, Manchester City and Liverpool have played out 3 draws in the last 6 previous meetings against each other. While Pep’s men have beaten Klopp’s side twice before, Liverpool have had a victory in their pocket over their Saturday rivals.
It is more Pep vs Klopp than it is Man City vs Liverpool
The 2 managers share a mutual respect for each other, no doubt, but surely they would love it even more so when they see their team winning against each other. After the last week’s draw, Pep openly talked about his respect for Liverpool because of his relation with Jurgen Klopp. Whereas Klopp did the same and returned the favour saying Pep is better than him.
Guardiola: “Of course I have learned a lot but, not just from Jurgen, from every manager that I see in the Premier League.”
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) April 10, 2022
It is not a debate that these two are currently two of the world’s best managers of all time. And currently, in world football, there are not many who can challenge either the Spanish or the German for what they have accomplished. It is, however, even beyond the City-Liverpool rivalry that brings Pep and Klopp ever so close to each other. The term that will be so apt to describe them is, “frenemies”
Their interaction with each other dates back to the Bundesliga era of the two. When Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, were seen standing as the managers of Bayern and Dortmund respectively, whenever the two sides did lock horns against each other in the Der Klassiker or the German Clasico. It was not at all expected, back then, that Dortmund could put up such a fight against Bayern given the latter’s history. But Klopp and Pep just turned the whole viewpoint of the German mega clash on their own.
Meanwhile, the mood, around both of the camps, is joyous given both have qualified for the Final 4 in the Champions League. Likewise, ahead of Saturday’s game, both sets of fans will be going in the Wembley to witness another thriller unfold before their eyes.
SNEAK PEAK: Player to look out for
Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
The Brazilian’s name on the teamsheet against Liverpool, on Sunday, raised several eyebrows. But, all went to bed when he scored against the Reds with a lovely finish beyond his countryman, Alisson, standing in on goal.
Gabriel Jesus has had his share of struggles this season. And come the struggles, it was clear that he was dropping down the pecking list for Pep to start him in games. Despite all the shortcomings, Jesus’s campaign has been more than enlightening, with the Brazilian scoring 3 goals and assisting another 8 goals in the 22 League games that he has played for the Blues so far this season.
The Spanish Gaffer will be expecting a similar performance on Saturday from his Brazilian number 9 like he delivered it last week against the same opponents.
Luis Diaz (Liverpool)
The breakthrough January signing for the Reds, Luis Diaz has shown his footy prowess whenever he has stepped onto the pitch. It is no fluke to come in a new side, and keep performing at your best week-in, week-out. But the Columbian international has just proved to have done the opposite. It is more than amazing to see how well he has fit in the squad, in such a short span of time.
Often being referred to by the Kopites, as Delightful Diaz, he is turning his tables at the Anfield. And it does not come as a surprise to anyone, seeing how well he was performing at Porto prior to his move to Anfield.
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Columbian International has already opened his account on the English soil, scoring 2 goals in the 7 games. While it is an average statistic, but here numbers won’t tell you just how much he puts in for the Reds on the field with his work-rate.
Manchester City were in a war more than they were in a matchup against Atletico Madrid, in the 2nd leg of the quarter-finals at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday.
The match handed a few major blows to Pep Guardiola’s side ahead of their clash against Liverpool in the FA Cup. The bandaged head of Phil Foden made it more evidently clear that he will be out for that clash including Walker and De Bruyne. But a sigh of relief was seen, as Dias returned to the squad, and will for sure be making his way back against the Reds.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp will be working with a full squad. In contrast to the heavy blows conceded by his Spanish counterpart, Klopp is not expecting any fresh injuries- apart from Jota who has a slight knock.
Van Dijk, Robertson, and Trent will be expected to return to the starting XI after being rested in the 2nd leg of the quarter-final midweek clash against Benfica, in the Champions League.
Manchester City: Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Ake; Silva, Rodri, Gundogan; Jesus, Sterling, Grealish.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz.