Match ends, Liverpool 0(6), Stoke City 1(5).
Liverpool won a penalty shootout against Stoke City at Anfield to reach the Capital One Cup final as manager Jurgen Klopp ensured his first season in charge will bring a trip to Wembley.
Marko Arnautovic scored for Stoke to claw back Liverpool's one-goal advantage from the first leg - but it was agony for Mark Hughes' side when it came to spot-kicks.
Much-criticised Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was Liverpool's hero with saves from Peter Crouch and Marc Muniesa, allowing substitute Joe Allen to step forward to secure a meeting with either Manchester City or neighbours Everton at Wembley on 28 February.
A tight encounter was sent to penalties by Arnautovic's goal, seemingly scored from an offside position, in first-half stoppage time.
Jon Walters, Glenn Whelan, Ibrahim Affelay, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marco van Ginkel were all on target for Stoke, while Adam Lallana, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Lucas were successful for Liverpool - before Allen settled matters to send Anfield wild in celebration.
- I didn't watch the shootout - Klopp
- Listen to the penalty drama unfold on BBC Radio 5 live
- Players chant during Allen's radio interview
- Listen: A lack of desire is costing Liverpool - Gillespie
- Football Daily podcast: 'Lucky' Liverpool reach Wembley
Klopp eyes early glory
Jurgen Klopp has endured mixed fortunes since his appointment as Liverpool manager in early October - but now he has the chance to smooth an inevitable period of transition with success.
Some may not regard the League Cup as the biggest domestic prize, but it gives the charismatic German the opportunity to cement his reputation with silverware and also give the Reds their first trophy since they won this competition under Kenny Dalglish against Cardiff City in 2012.
He would also be following the example of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City, who each won this trophy during their first season as a manager in England.
Klopp is no stranger to Wembley having led Borussia Dortmund to Champions League final at the stadium in 2013, though they were defeated by Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich.
Villain Mignolet turns hero
Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet has often been the villain of the piece in a season of uncertain form - but here he was the hero with vital penalty saves from Crouch and Muniesa.
The Belgian's Achilles heel is his decision-making, and there were some raised eyebrows when he was given a new five-year contract earlier this month.
Mignolet rewarded the faith of Klopp, who has been steadfast in his support of the keeper, with the most significant interventions here and will hope to build on this dramatic revival of his fortunes.
Stoke so near yet so far
A banner fluttering in the Anfield Road End among the massed ranks of Stoke fans called on their players to summon "The Spirit Of 72" - when they secured their first and last major trophy with a League Cup final win over Chelsea at Wembley.
And for spells after Arnautovic's goal, it looked like they would get the chance to join the ranks of heroes such as Gordon Banks and George Eastham as they took the fight to Liverpool with this semi-final second leg delicately poised.
Hughes must have been almost as exhausted as his players at the painful conclusion, contesting every decision and urging his men on for 120 minutes.
Sadly for the Potters and their thousands of fans, it was not to be - but the mature performance they gave in winning at Anfield, their first victory here since 1959, was another indicator of their growing maturity despite the disappointment of defeat.
Man of the match - Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool)
What the managers said
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp:
"It was great, the atmosphere was special. It was a good game for my side against a difficult side to play.
"They changed their style today. It was keeper Jack Butland to Peter Crouch so it was difficult to defend. We had a few problems, but they didn't have too many opportunities.
"Their goal was double offside but, in the end, we had luck in the penalty shootout. Over the whole 120 minutes, the players, crowd and Liverpool deserved it.
"Wembley is a cool place to play football... but we go there to win. It's not much fun to lose."
Stoke manager Mark Hughes:
"I thought we were by far the better team. We were behind in the tie and I'm proud of what the players produced.
"Nobody gave us a chance - why they would do that I don't know. We've proved for a couple of years that we're a good team. I think Liverpool were delighted to go to penalties and then it's a lottery.
"We got a win on paper - goodness knows how long it's been since we won here - but the objective was to get to a Wembley final which we didn't."
The stats you need to know
- In eight previous League Cup semi-final first-leg victories, only once have Liverpool not progressed to the final.
- Stoke have played Liverpool seven times in the League Cup, drawing one and losing six.
- Before Tuesday, Liverpool had never lost a League Cup semi-final leg at Anfield.
How the penalties unfolded
Jon Walters (Stoke) scores 0-1
Adam Lallana (Liverpool) scores 1-1
Peter Crouch (Stoke) saved 1-1
Emre Can (Liverpool) hits post 1-1
Glenn Whelan (Stoke) scores 1-2
Christian Benteke (Liverpool) scores 2-2
Ibrahim Afellay (Stoke) scores 2-3
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) scores 3-3
Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke) scores 3-4
James Milner (Liverpool) scores 4-4
Marco van Ginkel (Stoke) scores 4-5
Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) scores 5-5
Marc Muniesa (Stoke) saved 5-5
Joe Allen (Liverpool) scores 6-5
Liverpool host West Ham in the FA Cup at home on Saturday, and Stoke are away at Crystal Palace in the same competition.
- 38FlanaganBooked at 87minsSubstituted forIbeat 105'minutes
- 4K TouréSubstituted forAllenat 85'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 14HendersonSubstituted forBentekeat 58'minutes
- 44B Smith
- 53Vilaca Teixeira
- 5MuniesaBooked at 25mins
- 27BojanSubstituted forAdamat 71'minutesSubstituted forVan Ginkelat 98'minutes
- 10ArnautovicSubstituted forShaqiriat 78'minutes
- 15Van Ginkel
- Jonathan Moss
- Shots on Target
Penalty Shootout ends, Liverpool 0(6), Stoke City 1(5).
Goal! Liverpool 0(6), Stoke City 1(5). Joe Allen (Liverpool) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top right corner.
Penalty saved! Marc Muniesa (Stoke City) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, left footed shot saved in the bottom right corner.
Goal! Liverpool 0(5), Stoke City 1(5). Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top right corner.
Goal! Liverpool 0(4), Stoke City 1(5). Marco Van Ginkel (Stoke City) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Goal! Liverpool 0(4), Stoke City 1(4). James Milner (Liverpool) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Goal! Liverpool 0(3), Stoke City 1(4). Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Goal! Liverpool 0(3), Stoke City 1(3). Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Goal! Liverpool 0(2), Stoke City 1(3). Ibrahim Afellay (Stoke City) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner.
Goal! Liverpool 0(2), Stoke City 1(2). Christian Benteke (Liverpool) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Goal! Liverpool 0(1), Stoke City 1(2). Glenn Whelan (Stoke City) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Penalty missed! Still Liverpool 0(1), Stoke City 1(1). Emre Can (Liverpool) hits the left post with a right footed shot.
Penalty saved! Peter Crouch (Stoke City) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom left corner.
Goal! Liverpool 0(1), Stoke City 1(1). Adam Lallana (Liverpool) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the high centre of the goal.
Goal! Liverpool 0, Stoke City 1(1). Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top right corner.
Penalty Shootout begins Liverpool 0, Stoke City 1.
Second Half Extra Time ends, Liverpool 0, Stoke City 1.
Foul by Joe Allen (Liverpool).
Glenn Whelan (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.