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Brendan Rodgers: "Sometimes you can want to win too much"

Brendan Rodgers Credit: PA

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits his side were beaten by the better team as the Reds were denied a place in the FA Cup final by a resurgent Aston Villa.

Villa came from behind to win 2-1 at Wembley as strikes from Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph cancelled out Philippe Coutinho's opener.

Liverpool entered the contest as strong favourites, leading their opponents by 25 points in the Barclays Premier League, but Villa deserved their victory after a dynamic and dominant display.

"We're obviously bitterly disappointed but more with the performance,"

"You can always lose a game but you need to play well and give yourself an opportunity.

"We had some chances but I thought they were better than us today to be honest."

"Sometimes you can want to win too much. The focus comes away from what allows you to win."

– Brendan Rodgers

The FA Cup final, which comes on Gerrard's 35th birthday, would have been the midfielder's last game in a Reds shirt before he leaves for America and LA Galaxy in the summer.

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No-one's talking about the FA Cup final - Mignolet

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet insists no-one - not least Steven Gerrard - is talking about a potential fairytale FA Cup final send-off for the Reds captain.

Gerrard turns 35 on the day of the Wembley showpiece on May 30, which could be his final Liverpool appearance before heading off to Major League Soccer for a new career with the LA Galaxy.

Liverpool took a step closer to that scenario by booking a semi-final against Aston Villa next weekend with a narrow 1-0 replay victory over Blackburn, but it is not a subject for discussion within the dressing room.

''No-one's talking about final'' - Mignolet Credit: PA Pictures

"Nobody is talking about it. Stevie is the first one to acknowledge that," said Mignolet.

"He is the first one to acknowledge that we can't have any extra pressure on the team.

"He won't let us think in a different way. We just want to focus on Villa and the games before that.

"Before we speak about the final, we have got to get through the semi-final and the only thing we can keep in mind now is how to get past Villa. Then we will see what comes. Villa will be tough."

While Liverpool have booked their first Wembley appearance since 2012, when they went there three times on the way to lifting the League Cup and finishing FA Cup runners-up, Mignolet accepts it will count for nothing if they do not make the next step.

Dream final beckons for Gerrard Credit: PA Pictures

However, after back-to-back Premier League defeats he insists they cannot afford to allow the semi-final to distract their focus from Monday's visit of Newcastle.

"We are pleased with what we did against Blackburn but the next focus is the league.

"After the Arsenal and Manchester United games we didn't have much time to think about getting back to positive ways.

"Blackburn was a massive game and we needed to respond....and we did that."

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