Inseparable: EPL rivals City, Liverpool to meet in cup semis
Manchester City and Liverpool just can’t be kept apart this season.
Engaged in yet another tight tussle for the Premier League title, the two rivals from northwest England must now squeeze an FA Cup semifinal meeting into their busy end-of-season schedules.
Both won away matches in the quarterfinals on Sunday — City outlasted Southampton 4-1 and Liverpool edged past second-tier Nottingham Forest 1-0 — and were paired in the draw for the last four.
It means the top two teams in the country will clash in the league at City’s Etihad Stadium on April 10 — City currently leads Liverpool by one point in a fascinating title race — and then in the FA Cup semifinals at Wembley Stadium on the weekend of April 16-17.
In and around those games are a pair of Champions League quarterfinal legs for each of them, with City taking on Spanish champion Atletico Madrid and Liverpool facing Benfica.
It could be a make-or-break period of the season, with squad strength and player rotation proving key.
The other FA Cup semifinal match will be a London derby between Chelsea and Crystal Palace, which thrashed Everton 4-0 on Sunday to reach the last four for the first time since 2016.
City is in the semifinals for a fourth straight season but only after a flurry of second-half goals against Southampton, which again caused problems for Pep Guardiola’s team, having already drawn twice in the league.
Frustration was building for City at 1-1 when the visitors won a penalty that was converted in the 62nd minute by Kevin De Bruyne, before goals by substitutes Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez in the space of four minutes from the 75th added gloss to the scoreline at St. Mary’s Stadium.
City defender Aymeric Laporte’s own-goal had canceled out Raheem Sterling’s opener in the first half.
City has lost in the semifinals in the past two seasons, to Arsenal then Chelsea.
Liverpool’s improbable bid for a quadruple of trophies remains on course thanks to Diogo Jota’s 78th-minute winner against Forest.
Forest had beaten the previous two winners of the competition — Arsenal and Leicester — in earlier rounds and gave Liverpool a big scare at the City Ground.
Forest left 97 seats vacant for the game to honor the Liverpool fans who died as a result of a crush at Hillsborough Stadium in the FA Cup semifinals in April 1989, when the two sides last met in the competition.
While Forest can now focus on its quest to return to the Premier League for the first time since 1999, Liverpool is still fighting for trophies on three fronts — having already captured the League Cup.
Patrick Vieira is having another run at the FA Cup.
The former France midfielder won it on five occasions as a player — four times with Arsenal and once with Man City — and is now targeting capturing the trophy as a manager with Crystal Palace.
Marc Guehi, Jean-Philippe Mateta, Wilfried Zaha and Will Hughes scored the goals at Selhurst Park for Palace, which gave Frank Lampard’s Everton a reality check.
A 1-0 win over Newcastle on Thursday boosted Everton’s chances of avoiding relegation from the Premier League but, after a high-intensity start against Palace, Lampard’s team was blown away.
For Guehi, the center back who headed in the opening goal, it was a perfect way to celebrate getting a first call-up to England’s squad this week ahead of friendly matches against Switzerland and the Ivory Coast.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were at it again.
The most lethal attacking partnership in Premier League history combined for all three of Tottenham’s goals in a 3-1 win over West Ham in a big result in the race for Champions League qualification.
Kane set up Son for the second and third goals at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, having already sent in the cross that West Ham defender Kurt Zouma turned into his own net under heavy pressure from Son.
The win saw Tottenham climb above West Ham and Manchester United into fifth place — three points behind fourth-place Arsenal, which has played one game less than its north London rival.
In the other league game, Timothy Castagne made his return after three months out injured and scored for Leicester in its 2-1 win over Brentford.
It was a stunner, too, with the Belgium full back — fit again after thigh and shoulder problems — curling a shot into the top corner from outside the area in the 20th minute.
James Maddison followed suit by whipping a free kick into the top corner in the 33rd.
Yoane Wissa pulled a goal back in the 85th but Leicester held on to climb into 10th place.
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