EFL Cup: Saints outlast Liverpool, end 14-year Cup final drought
Southampton are headed to Wembley Stadium for their first major Cup final since 2003 (FA Cup — lost to Arsenal) after outlasting Liverpool over 180 minutes (1-0 in the first leg at home; 1-0 away on Wednesday) in the semifinals of the 2016-17 EFL Cup.
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The three best chances of Wednesday’s first half all went Saints’ way, with Steven Davis and Dusan Tadic presenting themselves inside the penalty area for Nathan Redmond, who tore up and down the right side of Liverpool’s defense over the two legs. It was baptism by fire for Liverpool’s 18-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold, who always seemed one or two steps behind Redmond.
Tadic’s chance was the clearest cut for Saints, as Redmond cut the ball back to the penalty spot for the Serbian international, only to see Loris Karius quickly off his line to smother the low shot toward goal.
Liverpool saw two big chances come and go early in the second half, as Fraser Forster somehow pawed the ball off his own goal line, and Daniel Sturridge sent his one-on-one effort over the crossbar after Jordan Henderson played him through brilliantly.
With Liverpool pushing more and more for a late equalizer, Saints suddenly enjoyed acres of space on the counter, which Shane Long made the most of in the 91st minute. Josh Sims played the ball through to Long inside the penalty area, and Long lifted it over the outstretched arm of Karius to send it inside the far post for a 1-0 victory on the night, and a 2-0 triumph on aggregate.