Man City and Liverpool meet again, this time FA Cup semis

LONDON (AP) — Liverpool is dreaming of a quadruple and Manchester City is targeting a treble.

Something has to give when England’s top two teams meet in their FA Cup semifinal at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Their 2-2 draw last weekend didn’t move the needle much in the Premier League title race with City maintaining a one-point lead. It will be a different story at Wembley.

“It’s a really intense fight on a really high level,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. “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.”

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, and he expects the same on 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 and could meet in the final next month in Paris.

City got past Atlético Madrid this week but at a cost as midfielder Kevin de Bruyne and defender Kyle Walker went off injured from the bruising 0-0 draw, which allowed the visitors to advance 1-0 on aggregate. City manager Pep Guardiola said “we are in big trouble” with the injuries.

De Bruyne’s and Walker’s status will be decided on game day, Guardiola said Friday. He described Walker’s injury as “a big twist (but) he is getting better,” and said De Bruyne ”had stitches after he had contact — it’s not a muscular injury.”

Guardiola, speaking from the facilities of second-tier club Millwall, where City is training ahead of the match, said he hasn’t decided if Zack Steffen would start in goal for Ederson. The American usually plays in FA Cup games.

Liverpool was able to rotate players for its second leg against Benfica at Anfield, thanks to a 3-1 first-leg lead. They advanced 6-4 on aggregate after a 3-3 draw. Defenders Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson had the night off. Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane went on as substitutes.

“It’s just a necessity,” Klopp said of resting players.

No Premier League club has ever won all four trophies in the same season. Liverpool hasn’t won the FA Cup since 2006, while City was victorious in 2019 when it completed the domestic treble.

CHELSEA vs. CRYSTAL PALACE

Romelu Lukaku could return for Chelsea on Sunday when it plays Crystal Palace in the other FA Cup semifinal at Wembley. The Belgium striker missed the past two games with a leg injury.

“Romelu was back in training yesterday,” Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said Friday. “Let’s see if he has any reaction or not.”

Crystal Palace is the only team remaining that has never won the FA Cup.

Palace midfielder Conor Gallagher will have to sit out because he’s on loan from Chelsea, which rejected Palace’s official request to allow him to play Sunday.

Tuchel ran into Gallagher recently at a restaurant.

“The subject came up and I apologized because I know how competitive he is, and I like him a lot,” Tuchel said. “The rules were clear when we made the loan.”

The cup would be consolation for a Chelsea squad that was knocked out of the Champions League this week, ending its European title defense. It last won the FA Cup in 2018.

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