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FA Cup semi-finals: Derby rivals ready to do battle

A Wembley FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Everton is a prestigious occasion not just for Merseyside but also for the football world to savour.

The two sides will step out on to the hallowed turf on Saturday in one of the most fiercely-contested and eagerly-anticipated derbies in the English game.

And in a clash which holds so much importance for both the red and blue half of the city, it promises to be a cracker.

Liverpool, already League Cup winners at Wembley in February, have endured a disappointing league season by their standards and are well off the pace.

Everton, meanwhile, have performed superbly once again under David Moyes, who continues his long wait for a first piece of silverware.

Both clubs have been starved of success in the FA Cup in recent times, with the Reds’ 2006 triumph their only one of the last 10 years while Goodison Park has not celebrated since 1995, although they were runners-up in 2009 and knocked out their rivals en route.

Classic finals

Mention FA Cup encounters between Liverpool and Everton and most people think back to the classic finals of 1986 and 1989, with Liverpool winning both under Kenny Dalglish.

Dalglish’s class of 2012 also hold the upper hand over their local rivals going into the encounter, winning both League meetings this term.

But the Merseyside affair is one of just two derbies in this year’s semi-finals, with Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea going head-to-head at Wembley 24 hours later in a repeat of the first all-London final of 1967.

It is only the third time both semi-finals have been played between city rivals. Like Moyes and Dalglish, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp and Blues counterpart Roberto Di Matteo would cap remarkable personal stories were they to triumph in the world’s oldest domestic cup competition next month.

But only one can make it through to the showpiece final on May 5.

Spurs have a rich history in the FA Cup having triumphed eight times, yet the last came back in 1991, with five of Chelsea’s six wins coming after that, including those in 2007, 2009 and 2010.

The fact both of this season’s league meetings between the two sides have been closely fought draws suggests it will be another tough battle on Sunday.

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

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