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FA Cup - Football: City and Liverpool to showcase heavyweight rivalry

There will be another chapter written about Manchester City and Liverpool's ongoing rivalry after the two north-west giants were drawn to face each other in this year's FA Cup semi-finals.

Both City and Liverpool progressed to the last four of the competition on Sunday with City ruthlessly dispatching Southampton at St Mary's before Liverpool edged out in-form Championship side Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Mouth-watering April double-header

Jurgen Klopp's side knew before taking to the pitch that City would lie in wait in the semi if they were to win and, after Diogo Jota stretched to score the only goal of the game and see off Forest with 12 minutes left, it was confirmed the two domestic rivals would face off over the Easter weekend at Wembley.

It means the two title contenders, who are separated by just a point at the top of the Premier League table, will square off on consecutive weekends as they will first meet at the Etihad in a blockbuster league clash on Sunday 10th April. It promises to be a thrilling ride.

City and Liverpool have demonstrated they are the two best sides in the country this season and there appears to be little to choose between them. However, the manner in which the two heavyweights progressed from their respective quarter-final ties on Sunday was different.

City, in the end, were comfortable 4-1 winners thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, a Phil Foden thunderbolt and a Kevin de Bruyne penalty on the south coast, whereas Liverpool had to dig in and survive a spirited showing from Forest, scoring when extra-time was looking on the cards in the East Midlands.

City are 7/10 to beat the Reds and book their place in the FA Cup final, Liverpool are 21/20 to make it through.

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Trophy hunt

Overall, it looks like being a nail-biting finish to the season for both with Liverpool still in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple and City chasing the treble.

They were kept apart in the Champions League last-eight draw last week with European glory still on the agenda too and with the semi-final path mapped out, it could yet transpire that they meet for a sensational third time this spring in the European Cup final in Paris on 28th May.

Not that Klopp or Pep Guardiola are looking that far ahead, of course. You can guarantee both managers will be preaching the 'taking it one game at a time' mantra and there remains plenty of football to be played between now and their Easter Wembley date but it's already a tantalising prospect as the pair both chase the three biggest prizes on offer with the campaign reaching the business end.

Other semi an all-London affair

The other FA Cup semi-final will be an all-London affair with Chelsea taking on Crystal Palace. Despite their much-publicised off-field issues, Chelsea continue to impress on it and Thomas Tuchel's side made it six wins on the trot in all competitions with a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough in the sixth round on Saturday.

It looks like the Blues' dressing room is demonstrating plenty of collective resolve in the face of uncertainty and it could also be a trophy-laden end to the season for Chelsea as well.

Tuchel will not be taking the Eagles lightly in the last four, though, after Patrick Vieira's men impressed with a 4-0 demolition of Everton in the early kick-off on Sunday. Palace are now unbeaten in six games in all after goals from Marc Guehi, Jean-Philippe Mateta, Wilfried Zaha and Will Hughes took them past crumbling Everton and onto Wembley.

Vieira has quietly overseen a marked improvement at Selhurst Park this season, leading his side up to 12th in the Premier League and in no danger of relegation and now to the club's first FA Cup semi-final since 2016. Palace are 11/4 to overcome Chelsea in the last four and make the final with Chelsea 1/4 to book themselves a swift return to Wembley.

Another day to forget for Everton

The positivity around the club is in stark contrast to the mood at Everton, however, as Frank Lampard's men turned in another insipid display.

Lampard would have been hoping his players would build on their dramatic late win over Newcastle in the league in south London but, after a bright start, they folded badly after going behind and were ultimately knocked out of the cup with barely a whimper.

The focus for the Toffees, who are 9/4 to be relegated, is now squarely on staying up but if they put in many more repeat performances like the one they turned in on Sunday then the Championship could be their unwanted destination.

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