Liverpool 0-1 Stoke (1-1 agg): Joe Allen sends the Reds to Wembley after thrilling League Cup penalty shootout

first_imgLiverpool are going to Wembley after Joe Allen scored the winning spot kick to beat Stoke on penalties 6-5, despite losing 1-0 on the night at Anfield.Marco Arnautovic gave Stoke the lead on the night to level the scores on aggregate after the Reds’ victory at the Britannia in the first leg.The game went to extra time and despite Marco van Ginkel striking the post in the dying moments of the first period of extra time, the game went to penalties.The shootout went into sudden death after both sides scored four of their initial five before Allen won it for the Reds after Marc Muniesa saw his spot-kick palmed away by Simon Mignolet.Stoke began the game confidently, stroking the ball around, with Liverpool pressing them with relentless energy.However, there was a distinct lack of clear-cut chances from either side, with the first effort of note coming from Jon Walters after he managed to get a run on Mamadou Sakho, only to send his left-footed shot wide of the far post.Liverpool’s best chance of the half came through Emre Can as the German unleashed a powerful shot from 25 yards but it sailed wide of Jack Butland’s goal.Stoke finally broke the deadlock to level the tie on aggregate when Bojan laid on for Arnautovic to slot passed Mignolet.Replays showed the Austrian to have been in an offside position as the ball was played to him, but the goal stood nonetheless.Liverpool almost levelled immediately after the break when the ball fell to Roberto Firmino from a corner, but the Brazilian leathered his shot against the foot of the post.Then it was Stoke’s turn to push for a second as they looked to make the most of some laboured Liverpool defending, with only a Sakho block preventing Walters scoring.Substitute Christian Benteke came within inches of connecting with a dangerous Reds cross which would have nicked it for Jurgen Klopp’s men but the game went to extra time.Bodies tired as the game progressed into extra time and substitute Van Ginkel came fractions from sending Stoke to Wembley when he struck the post with the last action of the first half of the additional 30.And despite the best efforts of the 22 exhausted players on the pitch, the game ended with a Stoke victory, and a penalty shootout.After a feast of fantastic penalties, both sides missed one each of their initial five as Can and Peter Crouch both failed to hit the back of the night.That left the game to go into sudden death and Allen stepped up to send Liverpool to Wembley after a visibly drained Muniesa saw his penalty saved by Mignolet. Liverpool 0-1 Stoke (1-1 agg): Joe Allen sends the Reds to Wembley after thrilling League Cup penalty shootout 1last_img read more

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