Match ends, Aston Villa 2, Liverpool 1.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 2BakerSubstituted forOkoreat 26'minutes
- 16DelphBooked at 80mins
- 28N'ZogbiaSubstituted forSinclairat 75'minutes
- 40GrealishSubstituted forColeat 84'minutes
- 50MarkovicSubstituted forBalotelliat 45'minutes
- 24AllenSubstituted forJohnsonat 78'minutes
- 18MorenoSubstituted forLambertat 90+1'minutes
- 4K Touré
- Michael Oliver
- Shots on Target
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, 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, 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.
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, 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, 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! 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.