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Liverpool left it late to book a Wembley semi-final against Manchester City, but Diogo Jota’s 78th-minute goal was enough to end Nottingham Forest’s valiant FA Cup run.

The City Ground has been a graveyard for Premier League sides this season, with Arsenal and Leicester both exiting at the hands of former Reds academy coach Steve Cooper’s entertaining and exciting side.

And, while lesser top-flight teams may have cracked in the red-hot atmosphere, Jurgen Klopp’s team weathered an early storm and bided they time, although almost too long, before Jota’s 19th of the campaign secured a 1-0 victory.

The match hinged on a three-minute spell preceding his close-range strike as Philip Zinckernagel should have set up the biggest shock here yet, only to shoot wide with just goalkeeper Alisson Becker to beat.

Not many sides get given a second chance like that and so it proved as Jota, having scored the crucial first goal in midweek against Arsenal to increase the pressure on Premier League leaders City, struck again.

This was the first meeting between the sides in 23 years and an enthralling encounter was worth the wait as Forest, looking to reach their first FA Cup semi-final since 1991, came flying out of the blocks fired up by a bouncing and confident City Ground crowd.

Liverpool retained a strong spine with Alisson, Virgil Van Dijk, Fabinho and Jota keeping their places from midweek and in the early stages they needed it.

Van Dijk was, typically, a beacon of calm and, knowing what was coming, the visitors looked to take the sting out of the situation and pick off their opponents in the opening stages.

Only Joe Worrall’s superbly-timed tackled denied Jota a good shooting opportunity, while Kostas Tsimikas’ swerving volley dipped just over.

But for all their fervour, Forest, who left 97 seats empty in memory of the victims of the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster during an FA Cup semi-final between the two sides, really only had a Ryan Yates shot deflected wide to show for their efforts.

Fabinho dragged a shot wide from an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain corner, while Roberto Firmino squandered the best opportunity of the half when through one-on-one, his decision to go for a cheeky chipped finish proving the wrong one as Ethan Horvath saved.

In between, Van Dijk showed Forest just how they would have to go up a level if they were to threaten the visitors as Djed Spence, the rampaging right-back who had done so much damage in previous rounds, looked to have space to run into the penalty area only to be comfortably ushered off the ball by the Holland captain.

The half ended with Liverpool, lacking both first-choice full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold (hamstring) and Andy Robertson (illness) having established control in midfield but not in the final third as deputising right-back Joe Gomez blazed over.

Forest started the second half with renewed vigour and Spence’s first real incursion into the area won a corner but nothing more.

Hovath saved comfortably from Jota before Klopp made a quadruple substitution in the 63rd minute, sending on midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson and forwards Luis Diaz and Takumi Minamino.

With Forest legs tiring, the game appeared to be Liverpool’s for the taking, but it was the hosts who should have seized victory 15 minutes from time.

Van Dijk vacated his position in central defence to carry the ball into midfield only to lose possession and the hosts countered with a two-on-one which saw Zinckernagel shoot wide with only Alisson to beat.

He was made to pay three minutes later as Jota struck his second important goal of the week following Tsimikas’ cross to the far post.

There were some late scares for the visitors when Alex Mighten went down under a challenge from Alisson, but referee Craig Pawson saw no foul and VAR agreed, and then Cafu fired over in added time as Forest went out beaten but unbowed.

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Liverpool reached the Carabao Cup final for the first time in six years as Diogo Jota’s brace was enough to seal semi-final success at the expense of 10-man Arsenal.

After a goalless first leg at Anfield last week, Jota’s first-half daisycutter caught Aaron Ramsdale flat-footed and he then saw a second-half VAR check rule he was onside following a smart finish as Liverpool won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

To top off a miserable night for Arsenal, Thomas Partey – who only returned from the Africa Cup of Nations earlier in the day – was sent off just 16 minutes after coming off the bench.

It means Jurgen Klopp’s Reds head to Wembley, where they will face Chelsea on February 27.

This leg should have initially been the first of the tie but was postponed after a number of positive coronavirus cases at Liverpool, while Arsenal had successfully appealed for Sunday’s north London derby at Tottenham to be called off.

This game had been in doubt but went ahead as planned, with Arsenal able to welcome back a number of players who would have been unavailable at Spurs.

The hosts started brightly, Alexandre Lacazette hitting the crossbar with a free-kick inside the opening five minutes.

Liverpool thought they had broken the deadlock in the tie as Joel Matip poked home a Fabinho header across goal but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Jota, though, would continue his fine recent scoring record against the Gunners, getting the better of the returning Takehiro Tomiyasu and somehow beating Ramsdale with a scuffed effort.

After their lively start, Arsenal’s attacking talent was stifled as Liverpool took control of the game heading into half-time.

Lacazette passed up a great chance to level after the restart, firing over the bar after besting the Liverpool offside trap to latch onto a fine pass from Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Liverpool, too, saw an opportunity to double their lead pass them by as youngster Kaide Gordon showed a lack of composure in skying a cross from Jota when well-placed.

Ibrahima Konate, on for Matip at the interval, headed against the post from a corner as the pressure on Ramsdale’s goal intensified.

Jota’s second 13 minutes from the end killed off the dying embers of any Arsenal comeback, the Portugal forward once again benefitting from a Trent Alexander-Arnold pass before coolly finishing.

The goal was ruled out by the flag of the assistant referee, only for VAR to overrule the decision and award the goal.

Partey was then dismissed after picking up two bookings in quick succession, the Ghana midfielder having only landed back in London at lunchtime, and he will now miss the visit of Premier League bottom side Burnley on Sunday.

But it was Jota’s fifth in his last five appearances against Arsenal and went unanswered as Liverpool booked their place at Wembley, aiming to win the competition for a record ninth time.

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Liverpool turned up the pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea as they coasted to a second successive 4-0 victory at Anfield with Southampton the powerless victims on this occasion.

Saints were dispatched as comfortably as Arsenal were a week ago as Jurgen Klopp’s side moved within a point of the top, in the process becoming the first top-flight team to score two or more goals for 17 matches in a row since Sunderland in 1927.

Second-placed Liverpool have now netted 39 times in 13 matches and no player has more Premier League goals individually this season than any of the starting front three of Mohamed Salah (11), Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota (both seven).

Jota added a couple to his tally from a combined distance of seven yards, midfielder Thiago Alcantara made it two in two games shortly before half-time and Virgil Van Dijk killed off any fanciful hopes of a Southampton comeback just after the break.

It was the perfect preperation heading into a midweek Merseyside derby at Goodison Park and a reunion with former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.

The trend for Southampton, however, remains a downward one after last week’s defeat at Norwich.

Only three league wins all season – only one of those away from home – leaves them just five points above the bottom three with the four teams immediately below them all with a match in hand.

They had not won on this ground since 2013 and not scored on their last five visits so the omens were not good, but conceding the fastest goal of the Premier League season after just 97 seconds was the worst possible start.

The returning Andy Robertson – one of six changes from the midweek Champions League win over Porto – resumed his marauding left-back role after not starting the last two matches because of injury and made an immediate impact.

He combined with Mane down the left to get to the byline and pull back a cross for Jota – who seconds earlier had squandered a chance on the breakaway by delaying too long – to score from close range.

Mane’s header from Robertson’s free-kick was ruled out for offside while Salah curled a shot wide of the far post after robbing Mohammed Salisu on the edge of the area.

After Jordan Henderson ballooned over a good chance, Jota doubled his tally in the 32nd minute with the 700th goal of Klopp’s tenure after Southampton were cut open down their right side this time.

Thiago’s ambitious crossfield pass was recovered by Trent Alexander-Arnold, feeding Salah to then collect a clever return pass from Henderson and slide a low cross which Jota who could not miss from a couple of yards out.

The Portugal international was denied a first-half hat-trick by a block from Lyanco but the Southampton defender could only deflect the ball into the net when Thiago blasted a shot from just inside the area moments later after a delicious drop of the shoulder opened up the space

But, for all their superiority in the final third, Klopp’s side were still leaving the back door open and had the visitors been sharper they would have had something to show for their first-half efforts.

Armando Broja was denied by Alisson Becker after nipping in front of, and outpacing, Ibrahima Konate while Liverpool’s goalkeeper saved well down to his right to deny the unmarked Adam Armstrong, who looked certain to score.

Mane’s visible annoyance when Salah failed to find neither him nor Jota in a three-on-two break indicated there would be no letting up, and shortly after half-time the fourth goal duly arrived courtesy of a low Van Dijk volley from Alexander-Arnold’s corner.

Konate’s sliding block and recovery to deny Armstrong, together with Alisson, from a Saints counter-attack maintained a third successive clean sheet.

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Substitute Diogo Jota scored twice as Liverpool showed they remain one of the best sides in the Premier League by completely outclassing Arsenal to win 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

Manchester City’s win at Leicester earlier in the day meant Liverpool’s hopes of retaining their title are now mathematically over after a season of mixed performances, poor results and terrible injury problems.

But Jurgen Klopp’s side were at their scintillating best, dominating an Arsenal side missing a number of their own key players to secure victory courtesy of a brace from Jota either side of a Mohamed Salah strike.

This was Mikel Arteta’s 50th Premier League fixture in charge of Arsenal and before the game he called for the Gunners to take the game to Liverpool, having won the corresponding fixture last year with a mixture of guile, guts and luck.

But Liverpool were on top from the get-go as the visitors showed their class – specifically in midfield where Thiago and Fabinho were at their best.

Arsenal sorely missed their injured quartet of David Luiz, Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe – who would have all been likely starters on what would prove to be a galling night for the FA Cup holders.

James Milner came into the Liverpool side and dragged an early shot wide, as did Fabinho.

Sadio Mane then saw a header saved before fit-again Roberto Firmino shot just off target, with the home side unable to keep hold of the ball for any meaningful length of time.

Milner should have scored when picked out free on the edge of the penalty area but sent his effort wide, while Arsenal’s evening was summed up when Kieran Tierney limped off injured just before the break.

The second half would begin in a similar vein with Liverpool again the dominant force. Arteta reacted by introducing Mohamed Elneny in place of the ineffectual Dani Ceballos.

But it would be Liverpool’s first alteration which would prove inspired as Jota replaced Andrew Robertson just after the hour and broke the deadlock with his first chance.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – who had been in the news since failing to make the cut for Gareth Southgate’s England squad – delivered a pinpoint cross that was headed home by Jota as the Reds finally made their dominance pay.

The lead would be doubled soon after, Salah coolly slotting home through the legs of Bernd Leno after proving too strong for Gabriel Magalhaes.

Salah almost had a second as he latched on to a defence-splitting pass from Thiago, with Leno this time staying big and blocking the strike.

Jota turned home the third after Gabriel had gifted Liverpool possession with an errant pass from inside his own box.

A simple win for Klopp’s men saw them move to within two points of the top four, while Arsenal’s dwindling hopes of securing European qualification through their league position suffered yet another blow.

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Diogo Jota scored against his former club to give Liverpool a 1-0 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Monday and keep them in contention for a top-four finish.

The result lifted Liverpool two places up to sixth on 46 points from 29 games, five adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and two behind fifth-placed West Ham who have a game in hand. Wolves stayed 13th on 35 points from 29 matches.

Play was held up for 10 minutes in the closing stages as Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio suffered a concussion and was carried off on a stretcher after colliding with team mate Conor Coady who tried to close down Mohamed Salah.

Jota struck in first-half stoppage time as he beat Patricio with a swerving low shot from inside the penalty area after a flowing move by Salah and Sadio Mane, who fed the Portuguese forward with a sublime pass.

Nelson Semedo missed an early chance for the home side when Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker parried his close-range effort before Mane twice came close for the visitors, who looked toothless in the opening 30 minutes.

Conor Coady headed over the bar for Wolves from a good position in the 49th minute and Patricio tipped away a Salah shot from a tight angle at the other end before sustaining the serious-looking injury.

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Liverpool received a much-needed boost with the return to full training of Diogo Jota for the first time since December.

And the Portugal international’s re-integration with the full squad after 11 weeks out with a knee problem was watched by defender Virgil Van Dijk, who was seen doing an individual outdoor session for the first time since his ACL injury in October.

Jota’s availability cannot come soon enough for Jurgen Klopp’s side who have won just two of their last 11 league matches in which they have scored just nine times, six of which came in back-to-back victories at Tottenham and West Ham in late January

The £41million September signing from Wolves had scored eight goals in his last 11 matches before being sidelined after playing in their Champions League dead rubber against Midtjylland on December 9.

Jota was pictured with his team-mates at the training ground on Wednesday, with Van Dijk also making an appearance outdoors away from the main group.

The Holland captain, whose early rehabilitation following surgery was in Dubai, was seen doing some work with a speed ladder and some minor exercises with the ball.

Klopp said at the start of the month he did not expect the Dutchman to play again this season – much like fellow centre-backs Joe Gomez (knee) and Joel Matip (ankle) – and the PA news agency understands this remains the case despite the defender’s first appearance outdoors, which is just a normal part of his rehab.

Of more concern to the Red boss, who is still awaiting news of the extent of Jordan Henderson’s groin problem amid speculation suggestion he could be absent for 12 weeks, was the continued absence of Fabinho.

The Brazil midfielder has provided cover in central defence for most of the season but has missed the last three matches after aggravating a muscle problem against Manchester City at the start of the month and has so far only been seen doing indoor gym work.

That makes it unlikely he will be available for Sunday’s trip to bottom side Sheffield United, which Liverpool have to win to get their bid for the top-four back on track.

However, forward Sadio Mane admits the priority is now the Champions League, in which they hold a 2-0 first-leg lead over RB Leipzig.

“Our target from the beginning was the Champions League, the Premier League and also cup games,” he told news men.

“And now, I can say it’s over for the Premier League… it’s too much.

“In our head, our self-belief, it’s always ‘never give up’, and we won’t give up, but for sure, Manchester City are a good team and they’re flying.

“Beyond the top four is now, right now, our main target. But the Champions League, that is our main, main, main target. To win it, not be second, but it won’t be easy.

“You’re going to face the best teams in Europe, but we’re here to beat the best in the world.

“We’ll do everything possible to go forward and win the Champions League.”

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Liverpool forward Diogo Jota has won the Champions League Player of the Week award following his hat-trick against Atalanta BC.

The No.20 continued his stellar form in front of goal with a treble in the Group D tie to help the Reds to a 5-0 win that maintained their 100 per cent record.

Jota won an online poll for the prize, seeing off competition from Alassane Plea (Borussia Monchengladbach), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) and Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla).

The Portugal international has four goals in total in this season’s tournament.

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Diogo Jota took his tally to six goals in 10 days with a Champions League hat-trick as Liverpool hammered Atalanta 5-0 to put themselves within touching distance of the knockout stages already.

The Portugal international’s recent scoring spree persuaded Jurgen Klopp to start him ahead of Roberto Firmino in Bergamo and he fully justified the manager’s decision with only the club’s fourth European treble away from Anfield.

He is in elevated company as Michael Owen (two) and Sadio Mane scored the others and what he has achieved already since his move from Wolves in mid-September suggests there could be more to come.

Jota, who could have had a first-half hat-trick but squandered possibly his easiest chance in the second minute, has now scored for a fourth successive match.

He is only the second man to find the net in his first two Champions League appearances for the club, after Robbie Keane in 2008, and already has more goals for the club in 2020 (seven) than Firmino (five) despite having arrived less than two months ago.

Finally Klopp has someone to not only challenge his established front three of Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Mane – the latter pair also both scoring within a couple of minutes of each other at the start of the second half – but to improve the much-vaunted unit and his £41million transfer already looks good value.

Jota’s impressive performance allowed Liverpool to win their opening three group matches for the first time and they have already established a five-point lead at the halfway stage with two home matches to come next.

Early qualification would be a major boost for Klopp in this most congested of seasons as it would give him the chance to offer some much-needed respite to his major players.

With Manchester City up next in the Premier League on Sunday he even took the opportunity here, removing Jota, who sparked an injury scare by hobbling off, Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson from the fray with 25 minutes to go and later resting Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum – all likely to be key figures at the Etihad Stadium.

Joel Matip returned to the squad after a four-match absence but Klopp opted to hand 19-year-old Rhys Williams – who a year ago was playing for Kidderminster against Curzon Ashton in National League North – his full Champions League debut at centre-back with Joe Gomez against a side featuring eight players who reached last season’s quarter-finals.

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Liverpool forward Diogo Jota was forced to hobble off after an hour of the Reds’ Champions League tie with Atalanta after suffering an injury in the second-half. Jota had scored his first hat-trick for the club in the match prior to his injury.

Jota appeared to take a knock before going off against Atalanta.

The Portuguese ace was on fire in Italy, and grabbed an impressive hat-trick having been given his second start in the competition.

But his evening was cut short just after the hour mark as he was taken off for Roberto Firmino, and appeared to be clutching his leg.

He was escorted off the pitch by a member of Liverpool’s medical staff, sparking fears he had suffered an injury rather than just being tired.

Jota got the rout underway for Liverpool in the opening 15 minutes as he raced through on goal and beat Atalanta goalkeeper Marco Sportiello with a delicate chip.

After baring down on goal, the Portuguese ace lofted the ball over Sportiello and followed the ball through to the net.

His second was emphatic, as he called for the ball from Joe Gomez, who played a cross over the top of the Atalanta defence.

Jota brought the ball down perfectly on his left foot and switched to his right before firing into the bottom corner of the net.

His third, which came shortly after half-time, was the simplest of the lot.

Jota raced past the Atalanta defence and latched onto a through ball before rounding the goalkeeper and slot home.

He made a significant statement with his performance and will be hoping to have done enough to warrant a start against Manchester City this weekend.

But he suffered what appeared to be a slight setback at the hour mark as he was substituted off.

As he hobbled off the pitch, he appeared to be clutching his leg, sparking fears he could have a dead leg.

Klopp will be hoping it’s nothing more serious than that, as he prepares to take his side to face City this weekend.

He didn’t appear to go straight down the tunnel, which could indicate the injury isn’t as severe as some feared.

After the full-time whistle blew, he was spotted hugging the match ball and smiling as he left the bench, so Reds fans can probably breathe easy over his condition.

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Liverpool sealed a 2-0 win over FC Midtjylland on Tuesday night, though the game won’t exactly live long in the memory for all those who witnessed it. The Reds failed to spark into life for much of the game, with the Danish visitors having the best of the first-half chances in the UEFA Champions League match.

It was Liverpool who eventually took the lead, after some fine work on the right-hand side by Trent Alexander-Arnold provided Diogo Jota with a simple tap-in for the club’s 10,000th goal.

Liverpool lost Fabinho to a suspected hamstring injury, and Jurgen Klopp was forced to bring on a number of starters to try to hold onto the win. With seconds remaining, Mohamed Salah smashed home a penalty to secure a 2-0 victory one that takes Liverpool to the top of Group D on six points.

Rhys Williams looked assured in the back line after coming on, which seemingly provides Klopp with another centre-back option he can rely on. In addition, the contribution of the full-backs was, as always, exemplary. While Jota’s goal was simple enough, his impressive start to life on Merseyside will do a great deal to convert any remaining cynics.

Liverpool didn’t register a single shot in the first half an hour — a damning stat indeed for the likes of Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino. Both looked well off the pace, while the midfield pivot of Jordan Henderson and James Milner also seemed to lack urgency or intent. The home team did improve as the game wore on, but this very much felt like a Liverpool side that was playing within itself rather than playing to impress the boss.