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FA Cup semi-finals: A good day for singing the Blues

PREDICTIONS

Saturday April 14

Liverpool 1-2 Everton (12:30)

There is an old cliche that 'form counts for nothing in a derby'. Or a semi-final for that matter. Can you make an exception if that form entails a side's worst run for 50 years, two goalkeeper red cards, and a decision to rearrange the boardroom? Perhaps.

The fact is, however, that Liverpool always raise their game against Everton, and with Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and a whole history of success on their side, you can never write them off. Everton are by far the superior team at the moment, but that is partially down to Liverpool's unheralded slump.

The Reds should raise their game and make life a lot more difficult for Everton compared to the gulf in form between the two sides of late, but ultimately (and hopefully), quality will prevail. Nikica Jelavic and the rejuvenated Tim Cahill will be crucial in terms of providing a threat for Everton, but the performance of Brad Jones in the Liverpool goal may be more decisive.

Everton must deny the Australian the opportunity to settle, otherwise he could well become the latest in a long line of anonymous cup heroes. Also, both teams have terrible divers up front in Jelavic and Suarez. If one gets lucky, that could be the difference.

It really is hard to be objective as an Evertonian in this situation, so I will just hold my hands up and admit that I have failed: 2-1 to the Blues.

Sunday April 15, 2012

Tottenham 1-2 Chelsea (18:00)

Spurs have arguably punched above their weight this season after threatening a title bid for large parts. With the resources and ambitions Chelsea have, you can also argue that they have punched well below theirs.

Tottenham's dip in form - just three wins in the last 10 - has coincided with Chelsea's renaissance under Roberto Di Matteo, and the Blues have lost just once in the last 11. With only two points and one goal between them in the league, both teams are just about as equal as they could be coming into this one.

There is so much quality on show, so as with all cup ties, this one will boil down to attitude and fortune. Though Harry Redknapp is a much better motivator than Di Matteo, the Italian has been much luckier. Though Spurs are more cohesive, productive and exciting, I just have a feeling Chelsea will get a big slice of luck to nick it unfairly.

By Chris Smith - Follow me on Twitter @cdsmith789 or click here to visit my blog, The Russian Linesman

FA CUP SEMI-FINALS:

Both games at Wembley Stadium

Saturday 14th April (kick-off 12:30)

Liverpool 2-1 Everton

Sunday 15th April (kick-off 18:00)

Tottenham vs Chelsea

The FA Cup final will be played at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 5th May

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