If statistics has any bearing on the case then Liverpool will win the FA Cup semifinal tomorrow. With ease, at that. In seven FA Cup encounters with Aston Villa Liverpool has prevailed in six and Villa´s only victory came in 1897, yes, 118 years ago. Let´s take a look on one of the historical wins, a match 21 years ago.
Just like tomorrow the last time Liverpool and Aston Villa met in the FA Cup it was in the semifinal. The game took place on the 31st of March in 1996 at Old Trafford. A crowd just shy of the 40 000 mark watched how Liverpool progressed to the final, but it was not a walk in the park. And it had no reason to be. Liverpool was at the time third in the Premier League table, Aston Villa right behind three points adrift.
Just four weeks earlier Liverpool demolished Aston Villa 3-0 at Anfield and the scoreline was fixed within eight minutes and two of the goals were scored by Robbie Fowler. Villa was warned but apparently not enough.
After 16 minutes in the semifinal Robbie Fowler was at it again making it 1-0 connecting with a Jamie Redknapp cross. But after that Villains sprung to life. They created a host of chances in the first half leaving the Red defence on the rocks. Liverpool somehow managed to keep a clean sheet.
In the second half the teams exchanged opportunities - but no-one could break through. Fans were nervous wrecks until Liverpool settled the matter in the 86th minute. And surprise, surprise, it was a certain mr Fowler coming to the rescue. Another Redknapp pass found him and the striker controlled the ball with his chest before firing home with a glorious left foot volley. In the dying moments Jason McAteer put icing on the cake when poking home for 3-0.
This season was Robbie Fowlers best goal-wise, he netted 28 times in the league and scored eight times in domestic cups. Aston Villa must have hated his guts. The forward called God by Liverpool fans scored five times against Villa that season and 14 times during his Red career. No other team conceded so many Fowler goals.
Sadly he lost his goalscoring touch in the final won by Manchester United 1-0. Liverpool was not remebered for their football on that occasion but for their fashion craze. The infamous white suits worn before the match correlated perfectly to their nickname Spice Boys.
Hopefully this time the Red football is the main attraction when:
We Go Again.
Sources: lfchistory.net, statto.com, soccerbase.com.