Liverpool have qualified for the Capital One Cup final after winning on penalty shootouts against Stoke City at Anfield as boss Jurgen Klopp confirmed a trip to Wembley in his first season of management at the club. Marko Arnautovic scored for Stoke to terminate the one-goal lead of Liverpool which they got in the first leg at Britannia Stadium – but it was painful for Mark Hughes’ team when it came to spot-kicks.
Highly-criticised Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was the hero of winning team, who saved the shots from Peter Crouch and Marc Muniesa. His brilliant effort permitted substitute Joe Allen to step ahead to book a meeting with either Manchester City or neighbours Everton at Wembley on 28 February. A tough competition was sent to penalties by Arnautovic’s goal, apparently scored from an offside position, in the stoppage time of first half.
Jon Walters, Glenn Whelan, Ibrahim Affelay, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marco van Ginkel were the successful players of Stoke, who scored on their shots. Whereas Adam Lallana, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Lucas Leiva were the men who scored for the hosts – before Allen resolved issues to send Anfield wild in celebration. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp stated he did not see any of the penalty shootout but has set his eyes on picking up his first trophy since coming at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp has borne combined performance since his selection as Liverpool manager in the start of October – but now he has the opportunity to change his unavoidable period with success. Some may not consider the League Cup as the greatest national award, but it gives the charming German the chance to build his name with silverware and also give the Reds their first trophy since they won this tournament under Kenny Dalglish against Cardiff City in 2012.
If Liverpool win this competition then Klopp will be third manager after Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini whose teams Chelsea and Manchester City respectively won this competition during their first season as a supervisor in England. He is no unfamiliar person to Wembley having managed Borussia Dortmund to Champions League final at the stadium in 2013, although they were beaten by Bundesliga competitors Bayern Munich.