FA Cup - Semi-Final
Aston Villa2Liverpool1

Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool

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Highlights: Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool

Aston Villa will meet Arsenal in the FA Cup final after a thoroughly deserved win over a desperately disappointing Liverpool at Wembley.

Villa's win was a triumph for manager Tim Sherwood as his side produced a performance of style, composure and grit to come from behind and reach their first FA Cup final since their loss to Chelsea in 2000.

As a consequence there will be no dream finale to his Liverpool career for Steven Gerrard. The Reds skipper, who will join Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy in the summer, was hoping to make a final appearance for the club in an FA Cup final scheduled to take place on 30 May, his 35th birthday.

Philippe Coutinho clipped Liverpool into the lead but the dangerous Christian Benteke levelled before half-time and Villa scored the winner their display fully merited through Fabian Delph's cool finish nine minutes after the break.

Lethargic Liverpool mounted a rally of sorts late on when Kieran Richardson cleared off the line from Liverpool captain Gerrard and half-time substitute Mario Balotelli was dubiously ruled offside when he had the ball in the net.

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Villa bamboozled Liverpool - Sherwood

Villa, however, were not to be denied and the final whistle sparked scenes of joy among players and supporters alike.

The normally animated Sherwood had been calm on the touchline throughout but all his emotions poured out as he celebrated another trip to Wembley on 30 May, on top of moving Villa towards Premier League safety. The ex-Spurs manager, who replaced sacked Paul Lambert in February, has overseen a superb rejuvenation at Villa Park.

Villa had giants all over the pitch, particularly in the shape of Benteke and the gifted 19-year-old Jack Grealish, who played with a calm that belied his years in this hothouse atmosphere.

Liverpool, in contrast, were dismal and once again failed to deliver when the big occasion demanded - which will be a matter of great concern to manager Brendan Rodgers.

Liverpool

Villa were bristling and business-like whereas Liverpool were timid with little seen of Raheem Sterling, who let the occasion pass him by.

Gerrard was recalled, as expected, but his influence was virtually non-existent in a first half where Villa were the more relaxed and confident side, exemplified by the strolling composure of Grealish and the power of Benteke.

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FA Cup: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits 'the best team won'

Villa were forced into a change when injured centre-half Nathan Baker was replaced by Jores Okore and, while they were adjusting, Liverpool took the lead against the run of play after 30 minutes. Okore's touch was uncertain and when some order emerged from the penalty box chaos Coutinho provided a calm finish past Shay Given.

Liverpool's lead lasted only six minutes and Villa's equaliser came from a predictable source as Benteke sidefooted past his fellow Belgian Simon Mignolet after the industrious Delph worked an exchange with Grealish.

The concerns of Rodgers had been underlined by an early change from a back three to a four and there were more adjustments at half-time as Mario Balotelli replaced Lazar Markovic and Gerrard was dropped into a deeper role.

Villa simply continued as they were and were ahead 11 minutes after the restart when Grealish was again involved, setting up Delph to finish despite the despairing lunges of Dejan Lovren and Mignolet.

Liverpool just about mounted a gallop as time ran out - but this was Villa's day and deservedly so.

Philippe Coutinho
Three of Philippe Coutinho's last five goals for Liverpool have been scored in the FA Cup
Aston Villa
Christian Benteke has scored nine goals in his last seven matches for Aston Villa
Aston Villa v Liverpool
Tim Sherwood has guided Villa into the FA Cup final in only his 10th match for the Birmingham club
Liverpool
Liverpool fans have seen their team make 24 appearances in an FA Cup semi-final - only Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton have played in more
Jack Grealish
Teenage Villa midfielder Jack Grealish impressed at Wembley - having only made his first Premier League start 12 days ago

Line-ups

Aston Villa

  • 31Given
  • 7Bacuna
  • 4Vlaar
  • 2BakerSubstituted forOkoreat 26'minutes
  • 18Richardson
  • 8Cleverley
  • 15Westwood
  • 16DelphBooked at 80mins
  • 28N'ZogbiaSubstituted forSinclairat 75'minutes
  • 20Benteke
  • 40GrealishSubstituted forColeat 84'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Guzan
  • 5Okore
  • 9Sinclair
  • 10Weimann
  • 12Cole
  • 25Gil
  • 34Lowton

Liverpool

  • 22Mignolet
  • 23Can
  • 37Skrtel
  • 6Lovren
  • 50MarkovicSubstituted forBalotelliat 45'minutes
  • 14Henderson
  • 24AllenSubstituted forJohnsonat 78'minutes
  • 18MorenoSubstituted forLambertat 90+1'minutes
  • 8Gerrard
  • 10Coutinho
  • 31Sterling

Substitutes

  • 1Jones
  • 2Johnson
  • 4K Touré
  • 9Lambert
  • 19Manquillo
  • 29Borini
  • 45Balotelli
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
85,416

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamLiverpool
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home7
Away14
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home3
Away6
Fouls
Home11
Away5

Live Text

Match ends, Aston Villa 2, Liverpool 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Aston Villa 2, Liverpool 1.

Attempt missed. Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Mario Balotelli.

Attempt missed. Mario Balotelli (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Jordan Henderson with a cross.

Attempt missed. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Emre Can with a headed pass.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Rickie Lambert replaces Alberto Moreno.

Offside, Liverpool. Steven Gerrard tries a through ball, but Emre Can is caught offside.

Offside, Liverpool. Steven Gerrard tries a through ball, but Mario Balotelli is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho with a cross.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Jores Okore.

Attempt missed. Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Steven Gerrard with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Kieran Richardson.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Joe Cole replaces Jack Grealish.

Attempt missed. Tom Cleverley (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

Attempt saved. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Booking

Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Fabian Delph (Aston Villa).

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Glen Johnson replaces Joe Allen.

Offside, Liverpool. Dejan Lovren tries a through ball, but Mario Balotelli is caught offside.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Scott Sinclair replaces Charles N'Zogbia.

Offside, Liverpool. Philippe Coutinho tries a through ball, but Raheem Sterling is caught offside.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ron Vlaar.

Attempt blocked. Joe Allen (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Kieran Richardson.

Offside, Aston Villa. Fabian Delph tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.

Foul by Jores Okore (Aston Villa).

Mario Balotelli (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa).

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

Emre Can (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Liverpool. Alberto Moreno tries a through ball, but Mario Balotelli is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Kieran Richardson (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right.

Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alberto Moreno (Liverpool).

Offside, Liverpool. Emre Can tries a through ball, but Mario Balotelli is caught offside.

Goal!

Goal! Aston Villa 2, Liverpool 1. Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jack Grealish.

goal

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