Liverpool meet Premier League title rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals after a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest.
Diogo Jota’s goal in the 78th minute proved to be the decisive moment in the tense duel on the City Ground.
Roberto Firmino missed a glorious first-half chance to set up Jurgen Klopp’s men after being played through by a wayward back pass, while Jota blocked an attempt from Forest goalkeeper Ethan Horvath.
Steve Cooper’s men should have taken the lead in the 78th minute when a Brennan Johnson cross found an unmarked Philip Zinckernagel, but the Dane fired wide from eight yards.
And Liverpool made the home side pay when Jota broke the deadlock as he latched on to Kostas Tsimikas’ cross.
The result keeps Liverpool’s hopes alive of an unprecedented quadruple win, but the draw with City makes for a very intimidating April.
Liverpool’s intimidating April
Watford (H) Premier League – 2 April
Benfica (A) Champions League – April 5th
Manchester City (A) Premier League – April 10
Benfica (H) Champions League – April 13
Manchester City (L) FA Cup – 16/17 April
Manchester United (H) Premier League – April 19
Everton (H) Premier League – April 24
Possible Champions League semi-final first leg – April 27
Newcastle (A) Premier League – April 30
This was the first clash between the teams in 23 years and the wait for an exciting encounter was worth it when Forest, aiming to reach their first FA Cup semi-final since 1991, came flying off the blocks thrown by a bouncing and confident City Ground crowd.
Liverpool kept a strong backbone with Alisson, Virgil Van Dijk, Fabinho and Jota keeping their places from midweek and they needed it in the early stages.
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Van Dijk was usually a beacon of calm and, knowing what was coming, the visitors tried to take the edge off the situation and eliminate their opponents in the early stages.
Only Joe Worrall’s well-timed tackle denied Jota a good shot while Kostas Tsimika’s volley went just over.
But for all their passion, Forest, who left 97 spaces empty in memory of the victims of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster during an FA Cup semi-final between the two sides, really only had one shot from Ryan Yates, deflected wide to to show their efforts.
Fabinho went wide from an Alex Oxlade corner against Chamberlain, while Roberto Firmino squandered the best opportunity of the half in a one-on-one, his decision for a cheeky demolition proved wrong when Ethan Horvath saved.
In between, Van Dijk showed Forest how they would have to step up a notch when threatening the visitors as Djed Spence, the rampaging right-back who had caused so much damage in the previous rounds, seemed to have space to run into the penalty area only to be comfortably guided past the ball by the Dutch captain.
The half ended with Liverpool without their two first-choice full-backs, Trent Alexander-Arnold (hamstring) and Andy Robertson (illness), gaining control in midfield but not in the final third as assistant right-back Joe Gomez overran.
Forest started the second half with renewed vigour, and Spence’s first real incursion into the area earned a corner, but no more.
Hovath made a comfortable save from Jota before Klopp made a quadruple substitution in the 63rd minute, sending on midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson and strikers Luis Diaz and Takumi Minamino.
With Forest’s legs tiring the game seemed destined for Liverpool but it was the hosts who should have claimed the win with 15 minutes left.
Van Dijk vacated his position in central defense to carry the ball into midfield, only to lose the ball and the hosts countered with a two-on-one that saw Zinckernagel shoot wide and only Alisson was beaten.
He paid three minutes later when Jota scored his second important goal of the week from a Tsimikas cross at the far post.
There were some late scares for the visitors when Alex Mighten went down under a challenge from Alisson but referee Craig Pawson saw no foul and VAR agreed and then Cafu fired in injury time as Forest was eliminated, beaten but unbent.
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https://talksport.com/football/fa-cup/1068481/liverpool-man-city-fa-cup-semi-finals-diogo-jota-goal-nottingham-forest/ Liverpool meet Man City in the FA Cup semifinals as Diogo Jota scores the Reds past Nottingham Forest and keeps the quadruple hopes alive