'It's special' - Mane and Van Dijk on beating Man City in FA Cup semi

Reaction'It's special' - Mane and Van Dijk on beating Man City in FA Cup semi

Published 16th April 2022

Sadio Mane labelled Liverpool’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final victory over Manchester City ‘special’ while Virgil van Dijk hailed the Reds’ teamwork after a 3-2 win at Wembley.

Jürgen Klopp’s side put in a devastating first-half display on Saturday afternoon and led 3-0 at the break, thanks to another towering header from Ibrahima Konate and Mane’s subsequent brace.

Semi-final highlights: City 2-3 Liverpool

Jack Grealish reduced City’s deficit in the early stages of the second period before Bernardo Silva struck in stoppage time to set up a nervy final few minutes.

But Liverpool stood firm to claim their spot in an FA Cup final against either Chelsea or Crystal Palace and keep their hopes of an unprecedented quadruple alive.

Post-match, Mane and Van Dijk spoke to the BBC. Read on for a transcript…

Mane

On it being a special day and result…

I think today is special because it wasn’t an easy game, of course we faced one of the best teams in the world. So, of course if you win this kind of game – especially a semi-final – of course it’s a big dream, a big win. We are very pleased and very happy to qualify for the final.

On Liverpool having to show resilience in the second half…

To be honest, I think from the start of the game we played very well. We started very well. Everybody was on the front foot, we pressed them high. We pushed them to make a mistake and for that we got our reward. That’s Liverpool, that’s our style of play. Of course it was not easy for them. I think that made the difference.

On scoring two goals…

Very happy to score the two goals for the team. But I think the performance of the team today was fantastic, every single player enjoyed the game because we did the right things at the right time. And it paid off.

On the quadruple still being a possibility

We’ll see. We have a lot of games to go, we will try to do our best. It’s a dream, for sure. We’ll go for it, we’ll fight for it.

Van Dijk

On whether it was nervier than Liverpool would have liked in the closing stages...

Yeah, I think we made it very difficult for ourselves in the end. We created chances as well to finish the game off, in my opinion. The game obviously was sort of played already in the first half, 3-0 up, you can’t give that away and then obviously when they scored their first goal quite early in the second half it gives them a boost. But overall we are very happy to go to the final.

On the first half...

Yeah, obviously 3-0 – it’s all about goals in the end of course and that’s what we did. So yeah, a perfect first half in that case. But we play against City, the champions of England at the moment, and it was always going to be tough, no matter [about] their line-up. You saw it as well today I think: there will be moments when you have to suffer and you saw it.

On the spirit and determination shown after City scored so early in the second half...

Yeah, you have to show a lot of strength and togetherness because it’s tough. It was warm, it was intense, like the previous game we played against each other. But if I am thinking back now, we should have killed the game off in my opinion.

On how impressive Konate has been... 

Very. You know, he has made a great impact, he is working hard every day. Good mentality, work-rate incredible and obviously he has to perform when he is called upon and I think he is doing just that. Obviously he is still so young and it’s incredible how good he already he is. Obviously everyone at Liverpool should appreciate what we have got and yeah, the future is bright.

Liverpool FC's official FA Cup final range
10th May 2022

Available nowLiverpool FC's official FA Cup final rangeLiverpool FC's official Emirates FA Cup final range is available to buy now.

On what this result can do for the confidence of the team...

I don’t know. We go to the final now, we haven’t won anything at the moment but obviously it is a big step for us. As a group I think it is the only trophy we didn’t win so we’ll give it a go and whether it is Chelsea or Crystal Palace we will see tomorrow of course. It’s going to be tough regardless but we have to be ready for it. Now it’s time to recover and be ready for a big game on Tuesday.

Published 16th April 2022