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FA Cup - Football: Klopp demands more in semi showdown

Liverpool and Manchester City square off for the second time in a week in Saturday's first FA Cup semi-final and Jurgen Klopp has made it clear he wants to see an improvement from his side.

Last Sunday's pulsating 2-2 Premier League draw left the title race finely balanced as City maintained their one-point lead at the top over their closest rivals - with the Citizens 2/5 to retain their title

However, the consensus from the match was that Pep Guardiola's side had edged it and probably should have secured all three points, especially after a dominant first-half display.

That Liverpool responded well after the break is testament to their well-worn spirit and the never-say-die attitude that's often been evident under Klopp, but there's no denying City looked a notch above in the first 45 minutes.

Klopp calls for Reds improvement

So it's no surprise to hear Liverpool's German coach issue a rallying cry ahead of this weekend's Wembley showdown. Klopp wasn't satisfied with his team's display last week, as defensive lapses and sloppy all-round play ensured the Citizens were able to dictate.

He said: "I think City was really strong last week, and we were not at our best, so I would like to see a game where we are at our best as well. It would be interesting. So, let's give it a try. Maybe that would be a surprise, all of a sudden we are good.

"The boys did a lot of good stuff in the game, but I really think in a couple of positions we are really able to perform on a completely different level."

Klopp made seven changes for Wednesday's Champions League tie with Benfica with the City semi clearly in mind and the Reds are now 5/4 to triumph in Europe.

He's expected to revert back to his strongest line-up on Saturday, with Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and Fabinho all likely to return.

Citizens suffer injury setbacks

Whether he gets the improved performance he's after remains to be seen, though. Much depends on how bruised City are following their feisty Champions League draw at Atletico Madrid in midweek.

Kyle Walker and Kevin De Bruyne's ankle injuries are thought to be serious enough to place them on the doubtful list and if City are missing two of their most influential players at Wembley, then Liverpool's chances of making the final certainly improve.

Phil Foden also suffered a head injury in Madrid and will be assessed but at least Ruben Dias is fit again for the champions.

Klopp knows that whoever Guardiola has available, however, that City remain the acid test in English football and it would not be a shock to see these two heavyweights slug out a third draw this season after 90 minutes, on offer at a tempting 23/10.

Related FA Cup News

FA Cup - Football: Four duels that could decide semi-finals

FA Cup - Football: City and Reds to slug it out again

Extras very much on the agenda

The difference on Saturday is that extra-time and penalties, if needed, will then decide a winner and, as the odds suggest, there is hardly anything to choose between them.

City to progress to the final is a 4/5 chance, Liverpool going on to play Crystal Palace or Chelsea in the final is available at 19/20.

But for those willing to be persuaded by Klopp's battle cry and take into account City's possible injury absentees, the best bet may just be backing the Reds to come out on top on Saturday, by whatever method.

Edinburgh rivals clash in Glasgow

Also on Saturday, there's a huge Edinburgh derby - in Glasgow - between Hibs and Hearts with a place in the Scottish Cup final up for grabs.

The two old rivals go head-to-head at Hampden Park knowing whoever wins will face either Rangers or Celtic in the final.

Hearts are the 8/15 favourites to win through overall, with Hibs a 11/8 chance to reach the final - odds that are little surprise when you consider the Jambos are third in the league, are unbeaten in seven matches and saw off their city rivals 3-1 last weekend.

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