Liverpool left it late, but a 6-5 penalty-shootout win over Stoke City saw Jurgen Klopp‘s side seal their place in the League Cup final.
Liverpool 0-1 Stoke City (1-1 on aggregate, Liverpool win 6-5 on penalties)
League Cup Semi-Final, Second Leg – Anfield – Tuesday 26th January 2016
Goals: Arnautovic 45+1′
After 120 minutes of little quality from either side, Liverpool needed a shootout to advance to the final of this season’s League Cup.
With Marko Arnautovic’s first-half strike cancelling out the Reds’ lead from the first leg, and neither side creating anything in terms of meaningful opportunities throughout both normal and extra time, referee Jonathan Moss called for penalties.
Here’s how Twitter saw Liverpool’s 6-5 penalty shootout win over Stoke.
Neither side made a strong impression in the first half an hour, with Liverpool making a slow start despite their high-tempo pressing game.
Liverpool’s best chances came from outside the area, but supporters were not happy when Jordan Henderson attempted a half-volley from near the centre circle.
After a disappointing 45 minutes, Stoke finally found their opening, with Arnautovic side-footing home—and though the Potters forward was in an offside position, the linesman’s flagged stayed down.
Klopp called for a “special atmosphere” at Anfield before the game, and he was finally given one after the break.
With Henderson enduring a torrid night in the centre of Liverpool’s midfield, and clearly lacking match fitness, Klopp brought Christian Benteke on for the captain just before the hour mark.
Hughes responded by sending on Charlie Adam, who won the League Cup with Liverpool back in 2011.
Liverpool had a reasonable penalty call rejected by Moss, who ruled that an Erik Pieters handball was not deliberate.
Neither side were able to make the difference as the second half drew to a close, and Moss’ whistle ushered in 30 minutes of extra time, with supporters left disappointed.
The first half of extra time passed by with little quality, and supporters urged Liverpool on.
Over 120 minutes of endeavour came to nothing for either side, and it came down to penalties to settle the tie, with Allen’s perfect spot-kick and two saves from Mignolet sealing a 6-5 victory for the Reds.
Liverpool can now look forward to the League Cup final, to take on one of Manchester City and Everton.
Liverpool have already released their League Cup Final 2016 merchandise range. View it all here.
LIVERPOOL 0-1 STOKE CITY (6-5 ON PENS)
- MATCH REPORT: Heroic Allen nets decisive penalty
- PLAYER RATINGS: Allen and Mignolet both get 7.5
- TALKING POINTS: Anfield raucous, silverware in sight
- PLAYER REACTIONS: “We did it together!”
- KLOPP’S WORDS: All-Merseyside League Cup final “will be great for the whole city”
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