London: Liverpool are dreaming of a quadruple and Manchester City are targetting a treble. Something has to give when England’s top two teams meet in their FA Cup semifinal match at Wembley Stadium here Saturday. Their 2-2 draw last weekend didn’t move the needle much in the Premier League title race. The draw helped Manchester maintain a one-point lead in the table. It will be a different story at the Wembley though, there has to be a winner.
“It’s a really intense fight on a really high level,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said Friday. “City was really strong last week and we were not at our best. So, I would like to see a game where we are at our best, as well,” the German added.
Liverpool clinched the League Cup in February by beating Chelsea on penalties after 120 minutes of scoreless play also at Wembley. The intensity was ‘insane’, Klopp said. He expects the same Saturday after both sets of fans navigate around rail closures to get to London.
Liverpool and City have also advanced to the semifinals of the Champions League. They could meet in the final next month in Paris.
In their Champions League 0-0 draw against Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, however, had to suffer. Midfielder Kevin de Bruyne and defender Kyle Walker went off injured from the bruising draw. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola told ‘BT Sport’ that ‘we are in big trouble’ with the injuries.
Fatigue is another factor, Guardiola said in his post-match news conference. “A lot of games in our legs,” he said. “The travel after the Liverpool game was demanding, and we dropped in standards in the second half (against Atlético),” Guardiola added.
Liverpool, on the other hand, were able to rotate players for their second-leg match against Benfica at Anfield, thanks to a 3-1 first-leg lead. They advanced 6-4 on aggregate after a 3-3 draw with defenders Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson getting the night off. Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane came on as substitutes. “It’s just a necessity,” Klopp said of resting players.
No Premier League club have ever won all four trophies in the same season. Liverpool haven’t won the FA Cup since 2006, while City were victorious in 2019 when it completed the domestic treble.
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