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Liverpool edge their way to Wembley after nail-biting penalty shoot-out against Stoke

Liverpool 0 - Stoke City 1 (aet, Liverpool won 6-5 on pens)

By Mark Ogden

Published 27/01/2016

Liverpool players celebrate winning the penalty shootout, during the Capital One Cup, semi final, second leg at Anfield, Liverpool. PA
Liverpool players celebrate winning the penalty shootout, during the Capital One Cup, semi final, second leg at Anfield, Liverpool. PA
Liverpool's Welsh midfielder Joe Allen celebrates scoring the winning penalty in the shoot-out after the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Welsh midfielder Joe Allen scores the winning penalty in the shoot-out after the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. Liverpool won the two legged semi-final 6-5 on penalties, after a 1-0 Stoke victory in 90 minutes meant the tie finished 1-1 after extra time. / AFP / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Joe Allen of Liverpool (24) is congratulated by team mates as he scores the decisive penalty in the shoot out during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. Liverpool win 6-5 on penalties after extra time. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (L) embraces Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino after winning the penalty shoot-out in the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. Liverpool won the two legged semi-final 6-5 on penalties, after a 1-0 Stoke victory in 90 minutes meant the tie finished 1-1 after extra time. / AFP / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (L) and Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva celebrate on the pitch after winning the penalty shoot-out in the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. Liverpool won the two legged semi-final 6-5 on penalties, after a 1-0 Stoke victory in 90 minutes meant the tie finished 1-1 after extra time. / AFP / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Jordan Ibe (second left) celebrates winning the penalty shootout with team-mates, during the Capital One Cup, semi final, second leg at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 26, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates on the pitch after winning the penalty shoot-out in the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. Liverpool won the two legged semi-final 6-5 on penalties, after a 1-0 Stoke victory in 90 minutes meant the tie finished 1-1 after extra time. / AFP / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: (L-R) Christian Benteke, James Milner and Jordon Ibe of Liverpool celebrate as Joe Allen of Liverpool scores the decisive penalty in the shoot out during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. Liverpool win 6-5 on penalties after extra time. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Joe Allen of Liverpool (24) is congratulated by team mates as he scores the decisive penalty in the shoot out during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. Liverpool win 6-5 on penalties after extra time. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Liverpool players celebrate as Joe Allen of Liverpool scores the decisive penalty in the shoot out during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. Liverpool win 6-5 on penalties after extra time. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool players celebrate winning the penalty shootout, during the Capital One Cup, semi final, second leg at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 26, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool's Emre Can (centre) celebrates with team-mates after winning the penalty shootout, during the Capital One Cup, semi final, second leg at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 26, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Joe Allen of Liverpool (24) is congratulated by team mates as he scores the decisive penalty in the shoot out during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. Liverpool win 6-5 on penalties after extra time. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool's Joe Allen (centre) is mobbed by team-mates after scoring the winning goal in the penalty shootout, during the Capital One Cup, semi final, second leg at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 26, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool players celebrates on the pitch after winning the penalty shoot-out in the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. Liverpool won the two legged semi-final 6-5 on penalties, after a 1-0 Stoke victory in 90 minutes meant the tie finished 1-1 after extra time. / AFP / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool players celebrate winning the penalty shootout, during the Capital One Cup, semi final, second leg at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 26, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool and Mark Hughes manager of Stoke City shake hands during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (centre) shouts angrily towards Alberto Moreno during the Capital One Cup, semi final, second leg at Anfield, Liverpool. PA
Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City (2L) shoots past goalkeeper Simon Mignolet of Liverpool to score their first goal during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool's German midfielder Emre Can (L) vies with Stoke City's Irish midfielder Glenn Whelan during the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Erik Pieters of Stoke City beats Christian Benteke of Liverpool to the ball during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool's Zaire-born Belgian striker Christian Benteke controls the ball during the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool shakes hands with Kolo Toure of Liverpool as he is usbstituted during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Glen Johnson of Stoke City clears the ball from Adam Lallana of Liverpool during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Referee Jonathan Moss in discussion with Erik Pieters of Stoke City and Adam Lallana of Liverpool during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Mamadou Sakho of Liverpool beats Philipp Wollscheid and Jonathan Walters of Stoke City to head at goal during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino reacts after missing a chance during the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. PA
Liverpool's Alberto Moreno and Stoke City's Bojan Krkic (left) battle for the ball during the Capital One Cup, semi final, second leg at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 26, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Bojan Krkic of Stoke City takes on Roberto Firmino of Liverpool during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp arrives ahead of the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Jon Flanagan of Liverpool evades Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Stoke City's English striker Peter Crouch (L) vies with Liverpool's Ivorian defender Kolo Toure during the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Alberto Moreno and Stoke City's Bojan Krkic (left) battle for the ball during the Capital One Cup, semi final, second leg at Anfield, Liverpool. PA
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Liverpool fans hold a banner in memory of young Liverpool fan Owen McVeigh during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. 11 year old McVeigh passed away last month after a battle with leukaemia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Liverpool fans hold a banner in memory of young Liverpool fan Owen McVeigh during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. 11 year old McVeigh passed away last month after a battle with leukaemia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Jon Flanagan of Liverpool holds off Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Bojan Krkic of Stoke City evades Alberto Moreno of Liverpool during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Ulla Sandrock, wife of Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp is pictured in the crowd ahead of the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp greets Stoke City manager Mark Hughes before the Capital One Cup, semi final, second leg at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 26, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is all smiles before the Capital One Cup, semi final, second leg at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 26, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Former Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish (R) is pictured in the crowd ahead of the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Stoke City's Welsh manager Mark Hughes greets Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (L) ahead of the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. / AFP / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / /AFP/Getty Images
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Jon Flanagan of Liverpool holds off Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Jon Flanagan of Liverpool holds off Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City during the Capital One Cup semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 26, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
A match graphic of the Liverpool v Stoke City match. PA

Simon Mignolet secured Liverpool's passage to Wembley for next month's Capital One Cup final with two penalty shootout saves before Joe Allen struck the decisive spot-kick to eliminate Stoke City.

With the game going to extra-time and penalties following Marco Arnautovic's contentious first half goal - the Austrian was clearly offside when released by Bojan Krkic - the Reds booked their 12th League Cup final appearance - on February 28 against either Manchester City or Everton - after Mignolet saved from Peter Crouch and Marc Muniesa.

Following a season that has seen him subjected to persistent criticism, the Belgian goalkeeper was cheered off the Anfield pitch after his match-winning heroics.

Earlier, Stoke ended their 57-year wait for victory against Liverpool at Anfield thanks to Arnautovic's controversial winner. His goal, deep into first half stoppage time, levelled the score on aggregate.

Jordon Ibe's goal in the first leg at the Britannia Stadium had given Liverpool the 1-0 advantage which forced Stoke manager Mark Hughes to go for broke in the return fixture.

The Welshman's game-plan was obvious once the team sheets had confirmed the presence of Crouch up front for Stoke, with the former Liverpool and England forward supported by the attacking threat of Jonathan Walters, Bojan and Arnautovic.

Liverpool's frailty when defending set-pieces - indeed any aerial ball - had forced Jürgen Klopp (pictured) to admit he had held "intensive" talks with his players in order to eradicate the problems that have led to panic whenever the ball has approached Mignolet's penalty area.

Liverpool tend not to lose at home to Stoke and such was the confidence of the Kop that one banner proclaimed, "Anfield South Awaits".

When Liverpool won four successive League Cups in the 1980s, Wembley was every inch Anfield South due to the regularity of the club's trips there for major finals, but Klopp's team went into this game with trophies in thin supply in recent years.

Two unsuccessful semi-finals last season, with defeats against Chelsea in this competition and Aston Villa in the FA Cup, only served to increase the frustration of a club that has become desperate to recreate the magic of their glory days.

Stoke have proven their ability to beat the best this season, with Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United all falling victim at the Britannia, but their form has been less convincing away from home.

Chances were few and far between. Walters saw an early shot from 20 yards deflected behind by Milner, before the Republic of Ireland forward, born across the Mersey on the Wirral, flashed a left-footed effort wide of Mignolet's far post after running onto an Erik Pieters pass.

Liverpool were happy to sit back and contain Stoke. But the two chances which came their way before half-time fell to midfielder Emre Can - the first a drag-back and shot from 20 yards which flew high and wide before the German fizzed a right-footed strike inches wide from 25 yards.

Stoke made the breakthrough in first-half stoppage time with a goal that should not have been allowed as Arnautovic appeared to be at least a yard offside when he was released by Bojan.

Hughes's team had at least sensed the chance to catch Liverpool off guard, breaking with a swift counter-attack as the home side waited for referee Jon Moss to blow the whistle for half-time. But when Walters fed Bojan on the right, Arnautovic had already raced ahead of Kolo Touré and Mamadou Sakho into the penalty area.

The Austrian failed to halt his run and the assistant referee's flag should have been raised as soon as Bojan played the ball, but the flag did not move and, as Liverpool's bewildered defenders appealed for offside, Arnautovic guided a right-foot strike past Mignolet in front of the Kop.

After the break, Roberto Firmino struck the foot of the post with a right-foot volley on 48 minutes, but as the volume inched higher inside Anfield, it was the visitors who grew in stature.

And but for two crucial defensive blocks by Sakho - both from Walters - Stoke would have deservedly doubled their lead inside the opening 15 minutes.

Then came the moment when Christian Benteke, on as a substitute, somehow failed to connect with Alberto Moreno's cross, six yards from goal. The ball appeared perfectly weighted for the Belgian to power into the net, but he ducked at the vital moment, leaving Jon Flanagan to stumble on the ball.

Stoke dominated the half an hour of extra-time. Substitute Marco van Ginkel struck the post on 104 minutes and then forced a fine save from Mignolet 10 minutes later after Crouch had gone close.

But Liverpool made Stoke pay in the most heartbreaking fashion in the shootout.

LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Flanagan (Ibe 105), Toure (Allen 85), Sakho, Moreno, Henderson (Benteke 58), Lucas, Can, Milner, Firmino, Lallana.

Subs not used: Lovren, Smith, Ward, Teixeira.

STOKE: Butland, Johnson, Wollscheid, Muniesa, Pieters, Whelan, Afellay, Walters, Krkic (Adam 71) (Van Ginkel 98), Arnautovic (Shaqiri 78), Crouch.

Subs not used: Bardsley, Joselu, Wilson, Haugaard.

Man of the match: Mignolet (above)

Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)

Match Rating: 6/10

Att: 43,091

Belfast Telegraph

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