Reuters

Shane Long strike seals Southampton’s final dream at Liverpool

Long strike seals Southampton’s final dream

26/01/2017 at 04:02Updated 26/01/2017 at 10:57

League Cup semi-final second leg, Anfield - Liverpool 0 Southampton 1 (Long 90). Aggregate: 0-2.

Southampton reached the League Cup final for the first time in 38 years after Shane Long gave them a 1-0 second-leg win over Liverpool at Anfield.

The Republic of Ireland striker came on as a substitute and slotted home a lovely finish in added time to give Claude Puel’s men a 2-0 aggregate victory, securing a spot in their first League Cup final since 1979.

Emre Can came within inches of a goal in the 54th minute after his shot was fumbled by keeper Fraser Forster who then did well to claw the ball away from the goal, with referee Martin Atkinson confirming it had not crossed the line. And Long confirmed the win late with Southampton now waiting to see if they will play Manchester United or Hull at Wembley in the final.

Southampton's Fraser Forster saves from Liverpool's Emre Can

Southampton's Fraser Forster saves from Liverpool's Emre CanReuters

After dominating the first leg, where they really should have come away with more than a one-goal lead, Saints again missed glorious chances in the first half at Anfield, with Dusan Tadic guilty of wasting the pick of the bunch 39 minutes in from point-blank range.

After the break, it was a backs to the wall for the Saints, but they rarely looked troubled as Liverpool really struggled to find any rhythm. That defence has not conceded a single goal en route to the final, despite facing Premier League sides all the way.

Jurgen Klopp’s 100 per cent record in semi-finals comes to an end in rather meek fashion, as Liverpool's poor run of form continues.

TALKING POINT

What has happened to Liverpool? Their all-action displays have wowed us all for much of the campaign to date, but this Liverpool side is a shade of the vivacious Reds that started the season so well. Sadio Mane’s absence has been a big blow, but the lacklustre displays of Robert Firmino and Jordan Henderson will be of particular concern. Adam Lallana doesn’t seem to know what position he is playing in, while Daniel Sturridge continues to look a shadow of his former self. Plenty to ponder for Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino shoots at goal

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino shoots at goalReuters

MAN OF THE MATCH

Jack Stephens. The award could have really gone to any of the Saints’ backline, but considering the circumstances, deputising for Virgil van Dijk, against a talented Liverpool side, the England U21 defender never lost his composure. Some of his late clearing headers were timely to say the least.

PLAYER RATINGS

Liverpool: Karius 6, Alexander-Arnold 6, Lovren 6, Matip 6, Milner 6, Henderson 5, Can 5, Lallana 5, Coutinho 6, Firmino 4, Sturridge 4. Subs: Origi 5, Wijnaldum N/A

Southampton: Forster 7, Cedric 8, Yoshida 8, Stephens 8, Bertrand 8, Romeu 8, Ward-Prowse 7, Davis 7, Tadic 6, Redmond 8, Rodriguez 6. Subs: Long 7, Hojbjerg 7, Sims 7.

KEY MOMENTS

36’ - CHANCE! What an opportunity to make it 2-0 on aggregate! Tadic the guilty party as he side-foots straight at Karius from point-blank range. Great save, but the Liverpool stopper should have been beaten from there. Tremendous work from Redmond to set up the chance.

39’ - CHANCE! Again, Saints should have scored! Brilliant from Redmond, again, as he skips past two men, pulls it back for Davis, who can get a shot at goal at the second attempt, but blazes over from a great position.

54’ - NO GOAL! The crowd think it is over the line, but Martin Atkinson's watch says no. Forster does incredibly well to claw the ball out, after fumbling Can's shot from the edge of the box. Needed all of his frame to reach back and fling an arm at the ball on the line!

64’ - MISS! Great football from Liverpool. Superb cross from Henderson into the path of Sturridge, who side-foots over on the volley. It is coming...

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge shoots over

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge shoots overReuters

78’ - CLOSE! Coutinho cuts inside, fires at goal, it looks to be heading into the far corner, but the ball flashes just wide.

90+1’ - GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Liverpool 0-1 Southampton (agg 0-2). Long scores after a swift counter to send Saints to Wembley! What a moment. Liverpool players were still arguing with referee Atkinson over the penalty he didn't give as Sims raced clear before playing in Long, who took one touch and fired into the bottom corner.

KEY STATS

Liverpool have failed to score in all three games v Southampton this season in all competitions.

Shane Long's last goal v Liverpool was in the FA Cup in 2010 (scored winner in extra time at Anfield for Reading)

Claude Puel is unbeaten in five previous games against Liverpool as a manager (W2 D3).

This is just the second time Liverpool have been eliminated in six League Cup finals (also v Chelsea in 2014/15).

MATCH IN A TWEET

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