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Liverpool “pushed all the way” but Wembley beckons again for “glamour semi-final” 

Liverpool weren’t at their best away to Nottingham Forest, but the media praised aspects of the 1-0 win as the Reds made it into the FA Cup semi-finals.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men faced a potentially awkward trip to the City Ground on Sunday, as they faced a Forest side who had already knocked out Arsenal and Leicester this season.

The Championship side made life tough for Liverpool, but the match was decided by Diogo Jota‘s predatory finish with 12 minutes remaining.

Here’s a look at how the media reacted to the Reds’ latest win.

 

It was a tough evening for Liverpool, who had to dig deep…

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 20, 2022: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool FC at the City Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Telegraph‘s Jason Burt felt the Reds may not have many harder games this season:

“The improbable prospect of an unprecedented quadruple remains for Liverpool and they will certainly have far more easier games in their run-in than this full-throttle FA Cup quarter-final.

“It could have been so different for Nottingham Forest, it could have been glorious and they could have added Liverpool to Arsenal and Leicester City in this memorable cup campaign had Philip Zinckernagel taken a golden opportunity seconds before Diogo Jota struck. Somehow though the midfielder angled his shot just past the post with Alisson rooted and the tie slipped away.

“And so Liverpool went through and have reached a first FA Cup semi-final under Jurgen Klopp where they will face Manchester City in the weekend after the second legs of their Champions League quarter-finals.

“Liverpool were pushed all the way with Forest, under their impressive manager Steve Cooper who has transformed their season and prospects, believing they also should have had a penalty as they rolled back the years in what is such an evocative fixture.”

Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail gave a similar assessment:

“Outside the City Ground before kick-off, Nottingham Forest supporters queued up for photographs with the FA Cup.

“It turns out that is as close this famous old club will get to it for the time being but Forest from the Championship certainly pushed Liverpool to their limits on yet another fabulous afternoon by the Trent.

“Steve Cooper’s admirable and tenacious Nottingham Forest team had already slain Premier League opposition here this season in the form of Arsenal and Leicester City.

“Only the narrowest of margins ensured Liverpool did not follow those teams out of the competition. Jurgen Klopp’s team will now face Manchester City glamour semi-final at Wembley as they continue a pursuit of four trophies and in a strange way the challenges they face that day will no greater than those they faces here, just different.”

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 20, 2022: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool FC at the City Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ben Fisher of the Guardian felt an upset could easily have been on the cards:

Jurgen Klopp had said how his scant knowledge of Nottingham stretched to its association with Robin Hood and until Diogo Jota poked in the winning goal 12 minutes from time to propel Liverpool into the FA Cup semi-finals he was at risk of being on the wrong end of an upset that would have provided him an unwanted memory.

“Forest proved courageous and stubborn, leading Klopp to make a quadruple substitution midway through a stale second half, and could have taken the had Philip Zinckernagel tucked home a golden chance.

“Liverpool, who remain on course for an unprecedented quadruple, will take on Manchester City in the final four.”

 

Some individuals were focused on…

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 20, 2022: Liverpool's Diogo Jota looks dejected during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool FC at the City Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jota may have been the match-winner, but This Is Anfield‘s Mark Delgado criticised his recent form:

Diogo Jota‘s form, a concern? He has been back from injury for half a dozen games now and his absence wasn’t that long to begin with, but the forward is way off the pace.

“Take away that goal against Arsenal (just for one second) and by and large he has been more of a hindrance than a help to the attack recently.

“In the first half against Forest he should have buried a one-on-one chance but hesitated and was tackled, then let the ball run entirely when a first-time shot beckoned minutes later.

“His hold-up play was poor, he lost possession too easily and a couple of easy passes were way too sloppy.”

The Mirror‘s Freddie Keighley hailed full-back Joe Gomez and Kostas Tsimikas:

“There is no denying Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are two of Liverpool’s most important players. However, the Reds made the trip to the Midlands without their two world-class full-backs as Alexander-Arnold is nursing a thigh injury and Robertson is unwell.

“In the duo’s absence, Joe Gomez lined up on the right of defence and Kostas Tsimikas on the left – and they set about proving just why Klopp views his current squad as the best he has worked with. While Gomez does not offer Alexander-Arnold’s wicked deliveries from the flank, he was a rock in defence and read the diagonal passes Nottingham Forest launched towards Brennan Johnson with composure.

“The Englishman was booked for hauling down the winger in the second half but produced a superb intervention minutes later to dispossess Philip Zinckernagel.

“Tsimikas was the more attacking of the full-backs and was entrusted with many of the set-piece duties against the Championship club. The Greece international summoned a brilliant, dipping volley from range in the early stages which soared narrowly over the bar and set up Diogo Jota‘s winning goal with as right-footed cross.”

 

A semi-final clash with Man City beckons…

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 20, 2022: Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas with a smoke bomb during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool FC at the City Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Delgado looked ahead of another huge month of action in April:

Man City, Liverpool and pretty much all the silverware. One of us will be in this final, lifting the league title and has already won the other cup.

“Both are still gunning for European glory, too – at least we can’t meet them there until the final itself, otherwise things would get very repetitive in the next few weeks.

“As it is, we are off to Wembley and there we’ll play City just a week after the away league game.

“It means our trip to Villa Park against Steven Gerrard’s side will be rearranged, giving an April fixture run of Benfica – City – Benfica – City – United – Everton.

“Lots to look forward to and be nervous about!”

Paul Gorst of the Liverpool Echo felt a cup meeting with City was inevitable:

“The Reds learned their semi-final fate about half an hour before kick-off when they were drawn alongside Manchester City to set up what is now a gigantic clash.

“If Liverpool are to go close in the hunt for all four trophies this season, then they could probably not dodge Pep Guardiola’s men forever and after emerging on the other side of Friday’s Champions League quarters and semi-final draws, it is Wembley where the pair will now collide for a place in the final.

“The term ‘mouthwatering’ doesn’t come close.”

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 20, 2022: Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara after the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool FC at the City Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Finally, The Anfield Wrap‘s Neil Atkinson is excited about what lies ahead:

“No season has ever had as much going for it at this stage. Only 1977 matches this and that year Liverpool didn’t already have a trophy in the bank.

“It’s important to understand this and reflect on it. No Liverpool team has ever been as present in this moment as this one. Leagues have been run away with. Europe has been the only target. But no one has been so much in all the here and now as these lads.

“Tonight and through this international break, that is what we should hold close to. It wasn’t pretty. It was a battle. But we love that. They can end the season with one trophy. They can end it with four. That normally is never the case beyond Christmas. But Liverpool have an FA Cup semi final on Easter weekend and I bet you they are still where they want to be then.

“Into these. All of them. Across the board. April looks incredible. Let’s make May better.”

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