Man City know what they need to do this summer after Liverpool FC defeat – Tyrone Marshall



When Manchester City look back at their FA Cup semi-final and analyze how their Treble hopes went up in smoke, they will look to Nathan Ake being outjumped by a dominant Ibrahima Konate and, most damningly, Zack Steffen’s casual approach to possession in his own six-yard box.

On a day when the Blues needed everything to go right, it had all gone wrong inside the first 20 minutes. After the mayhem in Madrid less than 72 hours earlier Pep Guardiola’s side needed to ease their way into the semi-final. Instead, they were on the back foot from the first whistle.

Liverpool would have sensed their time to pounce was early on. City’s win at the Wanda Metropolitano took an emotional and physical toll and they were always vulnerable at Wembley. But any City analysis into this defeat should instead rewind to March 18. That was the date the Champions League quarter-final draw was made and it couldn’t have been any worse for Guardiola’s side.

READ MORE: Gabriel Jesus summed up his City career in two games vs Liverpool

It’s credit to Liverpool’s shrewd recruitment across the last three transfer windows that they’ve now got the depth of squad to challenge City on all fronts, but they also had the luck of the draw that day in Nyon. A quarter-final against Benfica was as good as it could have got for Jurgen Klopp’s side and they fulfilled their end of the bargain by taking a commanding position from the first leg in Lisbon.

Conversely, City pulled Atletico Madrid out of the hat. Those two draining and demanding contests against Diego Simeone’s dogs of war were always going to sap energy from a squad that has been stretched this season.

So, while Liverpool had the luxury of resting key men on Wednesday night and having a quiet evening on Merseyside, Guardiola had to field a strong team for 112 minutes of brutal action in the Spanish capital, before flying straight to London. The moment that tie came out of the hat you felt that City had to take a big lead to Madrid. Once they only won the home leg 1-0 the FA Cup semi-final tilted strongly towards Liverpool.

City deserve credit for the way they fought back in the second half. At 3-0 at the break you feared a route, but the Blues are made of stern stuff and with some sharper finishing from Gabriel Jesus they could have made a real contest of it. They kept going to the bitter end and after Bernardo Silva’s 90th-minute goal they struck fear into Liverpool hearts with a late onslaught.

But it was Liverpool’s squad depth that ultimately made the difference and that is the area where City must improve this summer. Four of this side had to go again after their heroics in Madrid, with Joao Cancelo, John Stones, Bernardo and Phil Foden called straight back into action.

There were few fresh legs to bring off the bench either, with Kyle Walker injured and Kevin De Bruyne not fully fit. Guardiola was n’t playing mind games when he said his side of him were in “big trouble” ahead of this semi-final.

We saw at the Etihad last week that the Blues at their very best are the better team, but Liverpool have the stronger bench right now and that they have proven to be decisive this week. A center forward is clearly the priority at City this summer but the way Liverpool have strengthened their squad across all departments should serve as a shot across the bows.

This season can still be a golden one for the Blues, but Liverpool aren’t going away and if Guardiola’s side are to sustain the dream of multiple trophies deep into next season they need to have more in reserve.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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