Man City must be wary of former thorn in their side as Liverpool FC plot FA Cup shakedown

Roberto Firmino scored two goals on Wednesday night as Liverpool progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League after beating Benfica. The Brazilian has enjoyed playing against Manchester City in the past and could cause problems against Pep Guardiola’s side if he is given the nod for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final.

Across both meetings between City and Liverpool this season, Firmino has only managed 28 minutes of action, with Jurgen Klopp opting for the in-form Diogo Jota to lead the line instead. While being hampered by injuries this season, the 30-year-old has still delivered when called upon.

In 30 appearances this term, Firmino has scored 11 goals and assisted on four occasions, a respectable return considering he has only started 16 times. This surpasses his total for last season, despite having fewer minutes under his belt.

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The Brazilian also has a particularly good record against Saturday’s opponents City, scoring five goals and providing five assists in 18 meetings. Despite only scoring once against Guardiola’s side in the past three seasons, Firmino’s first appearance against City was one to remember.

The attacker scored one goal and assisted two as Liverpool ran out 4-1 victors over City at the Etihad Stadium. Firmino also made an impact in the following league fixture, as he scored and assisted in Liverpool’s resounding 3-0 win to complete the league double over Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

In fact, Firmino was unbeaten in his first four Premier League against the Blues, before City recorded a memorable 5-0 win over the Merseysiders in the 2017/18 campaign, and went on to become the first club to reach 100 points in a Premier League season. However, Firmino was once more a thorn in the side of Guardiola’s team in the second meeting of the sides that season, scoring and assisting as Liverpool edged that memorable 4-3 thriller.

That same year, City and Liverpool were drawn against one another in the Champions League quarter-finals. Firmino started both legs, assisting in the first leg and scoring in the second as Klopp’s side eliminated Guardiola 5-1 on aggregate.

Guardiola may take some comfort from the fact that Liverpool’s Brazilian striker has only managed a single goal against City in the last eight meetings between the sides, but with two goals in his last three starts, Firmino looks to be rediscovering his goalscoring touch.

Of the four FA Cup matches Liverpool have played this season, Firmino has started two of them. The Brazilian played the full 90 in the previous round win against Nottingham Forest, while his other start in the competition was in the 3-1 win over Cardiff in the fourth round.

Firmino’s only FA Cup goal this season came in the third round, when he came on as a substitute to help Liverpool sweep aside Shrewsbury and win 4-1. If the Firmino starts against City on Saturday he will hope to add to his tally of him, and Guardiola will hope the Brazilian does n’t haunt his side once more.

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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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