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Liverpool 1-2 Aston Villa: Reds Crash Out Of FA Cup

Liverpool lost 2-1 to Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday, following a bitterly disappointing performance.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 19, 2015: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard looks dejected as Aston Villa score the second goal during the FA Cup Semi-Final match at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool 1-2 Aston Villa
FA Cup – Wembley – Sunday, 19th April 2015

Goals: Coutinho (30); Benteke (36), Delph (54)

Pre-match

Brendan Rodgers made three changes to the side that beat Newcastle 2-0 on Monday night, as the Reds looked to make the FA Cup final for the first time since 2012.

Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel both returned from suspension, replacing Lucas Leiva and Glen Johnson, while Lazar Markovic came in for the cup-tied Jordon Ibe. Daniel Sturridge missed out through injury.

Rodgers opted for a 3-4-2-1 formation to begin with, with Alberto Moreno and Markovic as wing-backs, and Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho behind Raheem Sterling.

First-half

Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson both shot harmlessly wide early on, while Simon Mignolet made a good stop to deny Charles N’Zogbia from range.

Aston Villa were the better team in the opening 20 minutes, enjoying plenty of the ball and looking a threat in the final third.

On the half-hour mark it was Liverpool who struck first though. Sterling found Coutinho inside the area, and the Brazilian did the rest via a sizeable deflection off Jores Okore. It was debatably an own goal.

Six minutes later Villa were level, however. A lovely flowing move culminated in Christian Benteke firing a terrific finish past Mignolet. It was fully deserved.

Dejan Lovren headed wide before the break, and it was the last moment of note in the first-half. It had been an absorbing contest.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 19, 2015: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the first goal against Aston Villa during the FA Cup Semi-Final match at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Second-half

Mario Balotelli replaced the disappointing Markovic at half-time, with Rodgers clearly seeing his side were lacking something in an attacking sense.

Benteke’s deflected shot ended up straight at Mignolet, but Villa were ahead in the 54th minute. Fabian Delph created space inside the box, before finishing clinically. The Reds had it all to do.

Moreno made a vital challenge to stop Benteke putting the game to bed after 72 minutes, and Liverpool simply couldn’t take the match by the scruff of the neck.

Gerrard’s late header was cleared off the line, and Rodgers’ men couldn’t find that elusive equaliser. They were sent crashing out of the FA Cup in the process, after what was an extremely disappointing display from start to finish.

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Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno (Lambert ’90), Allen (Johnson ’78), Henderson, Gerrard, Markovic (Balotelli ’46), Coutinho, Sterling.

Subs not used: Jones, Toure, Manquillo, Borini.

Aston Villa starting XI: Given, Bacuna, Baker, Vlaar, Richardson, Westwood, Delph, Cleverley, Grealish, N’Zogbia, Benteke.

Referee: Michael Oliver

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