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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 24 July, 2016


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Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Here are tonight’s teams…


It’s been a scrappy enough start.

There’s been no real pattern established in the game, with the majority of the play taking place in the middle of the field.


Good play from Flanagan on his return from a long injury layoff.

He shrugs Arnautovic off the ball before winning a free kick.


Liverpool have started this game well.

Stoke have barely had any time on the ball to string passes together, owing to Reds’ relentless pressing.


Emre Can carries the ball the whole way across the box.

Wollscheid tracks him all the way though, and the German midfielder runs it out of play for a free kick.

Moments later, Jon Walters has a glimpse at goal, and his shot is deflected over.


Firmino’s shot is blocked by Wollscheid, before Bojan is tripped as he attempts to launch a counter-attack.

This game has yet to really catch fire — certainly, it’s nothing like as crazy as Liverpool’s weekend clash with Norwich.


Whelan is pressed into conceding possession by Firmino.

That’s a snapshot of the game so far — Stoke have offered little threat as they can’t keep the ball for a sustained period.


Liverpool have made an early tactical adjustment — Lallana is on the right now, while Milner has moved to the left.

Another chance for Stoke as I type — Jon Walters sprints through on goal, but his shot from a tight angle goes just wide. The recovering Sakho seemingly did just enough to put him off.


This game continues to be extremely tight with chances few and far between.

Liverpool are perhaps understandably cautious after conceding four goals at Norwich.


Can produces a powerful effort that’s deflected wide.

Better from Liverpool.


Bojan heads a free kick across the box and Crouch is inches away from getting on the end of it.

It’s another half-chance for Stoke, who have looked the more likely to score so far.


The ball drops to Henderson and he shoots from about 40 yards out, but it goes harmlessly wide.

The Liverpool captain still has yet to master his Steven Gerrard impressions, evidently.


Milner tries to pick out Lallana, but Johnson does well to get back and intercept.

Liverpool have come into the game more in these last few minutes.


Stoke level on the stroke of half-time, as Arnautovic scores his eighth goal of the season.

The Austrian looked suspiciously offside as he tapped home a cross, but Stoke fans won’t complain.



Half-time and Mark Hughes will definitely be the happier of the two managers.

It’s been very tight, with chances few and far between, with the two sides largely cancelling each other out.

Liverpool have lacked cutting edge in the final third, despite threatening on the counter once or twice, while for Stoke, Jon Walters has missed two half-chances.

It’s been very easy and in truth, the antithesis of Liverpool’s 5-4 thriller with Norwich on Saturday, but that injury-time Arnautovic goal, which looked offside, has completely changed the complexion of the game.

One stat sums up that first half: there’s been one shot on target — the goal.

Zonal Marking’s Michael Cox has been impressed by Jon Walters’ performance.

Here’s a look at the Stoke goal.


It’s been an urgent start to this second half from Liverpool.

They’ve just won a corner…


Henderson lays the ball off to Firmino, whose shot is stopped by Butland’s foot and put out for a corner.

Liverpool have been much better already since the break.


The game’s hit a bit of a lull again, following that brief post-half-time flurry from Liverpool.

It’s been very scrappy, with unforced errors prominent.


Sakho has just made a last-ditch block to deny Walters.

In the build-up, Arnautovic — who has been excellent tonight — produced a sublime long-range pass to put the Irish international through on goal.

As I type, more panic in the Liverpool defence, as they allow the ball to bounce in the box, before Mignolet palms away a cross for a corner.


Liverpool are looking increasingly unconvincing in their attempts to deal with Stoke’s set pieces and physicality.

Meanwhile, Christian Benteke has replaced Jordan Henderson to provide the hosts with more of a goal threat.


It’s another superb block from Sakho to stop Walters hitting the target from close range.

Liverpool are really under the cosh here.


Lallana drags a shot just wide.

This second half has been far more entertaining than the first.


Half chance for Liverpool, as Milner’s free kick finds Sakho at the back post.

The defender heads it narrowly wide, however.


Great defence-splitting pass from Benteke to find Flanagan, but the defender’s cross is too close to Butland.

Stoke are bringing on Charlie Adam in place of Bojan.


More evident nervousness in the Liverpool box, as the ball is allowed to bounce once more, but relief is heard around the ground as Crouch is flagged for offside.

You have to think, sooner or later, Liverpool could be made to pay for their weakness in defending set pieces.


Milner’s cross drifts just over Firmino.

With 15 minutes left, this game could really go either way.


A Moreno cross falls to Flanagan, but his touch is poor, and the Stoke defence close him down. Could Liverpool be left to rue that miss?

Somewhat surprisingly given how well he’s played, Arnautovic comes off for Stoke, as he’s replaced by Xherdan Shaqiri.


Liverpool have played well in recent minutes, as Stoke have been completely pinned back into their own half.

Benteke has definitely made a big difference since coming on, with his mere presence in the box alone causing nervousness in the opposition’s ranks.


Liverpool make their second substitution, as Joe Allen replaces Kolo Toure. Lucas will now play in the back four, it seems.

As I type, there are big appeals for a handball, as Firmino’s cross hits Pieters. He had his back to it, so it would have been a very harsh call.


Milner’s tired cross eludes everyone and is easily cleared.

There will be four minutes of stoppage time…


Great run on the counter by Afellay, who is then cynically taken out by Joe Allen.

The Welsh international deservedly gets booked as a result.


Stoke have a corner with seconds remaining…


So full-time, and it’s been tight and tense as expected. Both sides had half chances in an absorbing second half.

Liverpool, not for the first time, have looked particularly nervy defending set pieces. The hosts, however, ended the second period strongly, and looked much more of a threat when Benteke came on.

Extra-time should be very fascinating.


Danger again from a set piece.

Crouch meets Charlie Adams’ cross, but he can’t quite steer his header on target.


Liverpool v Stoke City - Capital One Cup - Semi Final - Second Leg - Anfield Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in conversation with Stoke City manager Mark Hughes (right) on the touchline. Source: PA Wire/PA Images


It’s been a pretty low-tempo start to extra-time.

Both sides did a fair bit of running in normal time, with mistakes likely to become more prominent now and concentration harder to maintain.


The sub has been subbed, as Van Ginkel comes on for the injured Charlie Adam.

Stoke have now made all three substitutions.


You get the feeling both sides would settle for penalties now, as they look similarly shattered.

Liverpool have been dominating in terms of territory though, so if it’s anyone is going to score, it’s more likely to be the hosts.


Benteke sprints down the touchline, but Wollscheid tracks him well and eventually alleviates the danger.

Down the other end, Van Ginkel gets on the end of Crouch’s knockdown, but his shot hits the outside of the post and goes out of play.




So that was an understandably cautious 15 minutes of play.

Both sides are exhausted and playing with conspicuous levels of caution now.


Jordon Ibe has replaced Flanagan for the second half. The returning full-back has done well to last this long.

James Milner will now drop back to defence.


Liverpool are finishing the game the stronger of the two sides.

The match is being played almost exclusively in Stoke’s half right now, with Klopp’s men looking the fitter of the two teams.


Shaqiri threatens to break, but Milner gets back and tackles him.

That’s great discipline from the England international.


Of the 24 shots in this match, only two have been on target, one from each side, according to Sky.

That’s as stark an indication as any of the lack of quality in the final third this evening.


Pieters charges down the line and crosses to Crouch, but not for the first time, Sakho gets his body in the way.

Moments later, Van Ginkel links up with Crouch again, but the former’s attempt is saved comfortably by Mignolet.

Stoke have really come alive in these last few minutes.


Looks like this game is destined for penalties, as neither side is looking like scoring.

Two minutes remain…


Awful from Afellay who runs it out of play when Stoke have a chance to counter.

Shortly thereafter, Whelan is fouled by Allen on the edge of Stoke’s box and the visitors breathe a sigh of relief.


Carragher suggests Stoke might have the advantage in the penalties “because the goalkeeper’s better”.

The Sky Sports pundit really doesn’t like Mignolet.


Jon Walters scores! 1-0 Stoke.


Emre Can misses! Still 1-1.


Glenn Whelan scores! 2-1 Stoke.


Christian Benteke scores! 2-2.


Joe Allen is the man that puts Liverpool in the Capital One Cup final, after Mignolet’s excellent save from Muniesta’s penalty.

So Liverpool scrape into the League Cup final.

It was as tight a game as the scoreline suggests, with plenty of endeavour, but little in the way of quality in the final third and only two shots on target over the course of the 120 minutes.

There is perhaps an element of poetic justice in Liverpool’s progression, given that Stoke’s goal on the night should have been ruled out for offside.

So that’s all from me for tonight.

Thanks for reading and commenting, and stay tuned for more reaction.

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