Match ends, Liverpool 0, Southampton 1.
Liverpool 0-1 Southampton (Agg: 0-2)
Southampton reached the EFL Cup final at Wembley with a fully deserved victory over two legs against Liverpool - crowned by Shane Long's late winner at Anfield.
Claude Puel's side, defending a 1-0 lead from the first leg, should have put the tie out of Liverpool's reach inside the first 45 minutes but Dusan Tadic's close-range shot was blocked by keeper Loris Karius and captain Steve Davis blazed another great chance wildly over.
Liverpool raised the tempo in front of the Kop in the second half but Daniel Sturridge wasted their two best chances, Fraser Forster acrobatically hooked an Emre Can shot off the line and the hosts also had a late penalty appeal turned down when substitute Divock Origi tumbled under Jack Stephens' challenge.
But Southampton broke clear in the closing moments and Long finished convincingly from Josh Sims' pass to send them into the their first final in this competition since 1979, where they will meet either Manchester United or Hull City - a feat achieved without conceding a goal.
Saints superior over two legs
Southampton's date at Wembley on 26 February is a rich tribute to this brilliantly run club and their understated French manager Claude Puel.
Saints were vastly superior over two legs against Liverpool and, despite the home side's complaints about that late penalty claim, no-one could seriously begrudge them their victory.
And it was all done without their talisman and key defender Virgil van Dijk, out through injury. Southampton were dangerous on the break in the first half and then, when they needed to be, were superbly organised, disciplined and determined defensively before breaking for Republic of Ireland international Long to strike the killer blow.
Southampton have once more demonstrated their ability, as a club, to take the blows of key departures and still achieve.
They lost manager Ronald Koeman to Everton in the summer - as well as important components such as Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane to Spurs and Liverpool respectively - and have carried on undisturbed with a Wembley appearance as their reward.
Liverpool lose their way - one win in seven matches
Liverpool's laboured performance was in stark contrast to the all-action attacking displays that briefly took them to the top of the Premier League earlier this season.
Jurgen Klopp's side looked jaded and have lost their way, with only one win in seven games this year, a third-round FA Cup replay victory at League Two Plymouth Argyle.
Liverpool look shorn of threat without £34m summer signing Mane, away at the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, and lacking an alternative plan when teams as disciplined as Swansea and Southampton have been in inflicting two successive home defeats.
Sturridge felt the frustration of Liverpool's supporters for a poor performance and two missed chances, while substitute Origi looks short of confidence.
Klopp's decision to play Can and Jordan Henderson together in midfield backfired badly and his decision to leave out Georginio Wijnaldum was questionable.
Saints profit from fine margins
Southampton's players enjoyed every second of their celebrations with their fans in the Anfield Road end as they looked forward to the chance to win their second major trophy, following an FA Cup triumph over Manchester United at Wembley in 1976.
Saints had several anxious moments in the second half, especially when goalkeeper Forster dropped Can's shot behind him then recovered miraculously to claw it off the line as Sturridge closed in.
They also survived two penalty appeals - for handball against Long and that fall from Origi - but this was a glory night for Southampton and one they fully deserved.
Man of the match - Southampton's Oriel Romeu
Analysis - 'Southampton totally outplayed Liverpool'
BBC Radio 5 live pundit Mark Lawrenson: "Absolutely, totally and utterly deserved. They always, always carried that goal threat. They played with so much pace, so much directness. Over the two legs they have totally outplayed Liverpool. They thoroughly deserve the Wembley appearance."
A first for Klopp - the stats you need...
- This is the first time Jurgen Klopp has lost a semi-final as a manager, progressing from the previous six.
- Southampton have reached the final without conceding a single goal.
- Liverpool have failed to score in all three games v Southampton this season in all competitions.
- Claude Puel is unbeaten in six games against Liverpool as a manager (W3 D3).
- This is just the second time Liverpool have been eliminated in six League Cup semi-finals (the other v Chelsea in 2014-15).
- The last time Liverpool failed to score in either leg of a semi-final was in the 1970-71 Fairs Cup v Leeds.
'Seven good chances' - what the managers said
Southampton manager Claude Puel: "It is fantastic for all the squad and a good reward for their hard work. It was difficult to find this opportunity to play a final at Wembley. In the two legs we deserved the win. We were fantastic in the first leg at home and tonight we had chances in the first half.
"In the second half it was difficult but now we go to Wembley, not just to participate but to win this cup. I have been there once, just to watch France beat England."
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "They won both games, they deserved it. We did really well. We cannot create more chances than we did in the second half - we were dominant. It is difficult because you have to take risks but too many risks plays to their strengths.
"We had seven good chances. You have to score, and we didn't do, so we lost. I'm fine with the performance but not the result."
Liverpool host Championship side Wolves in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday at 12:30 GMT, while Southampton travel to Arsenal in the same competition at 17:30.
- 23CanSubstituted forOrigiat 78'minutes
- 10CoutinhoSubstituted forWijnaldumat 87'minutes
- 2Cédric Soares
- 16Ward-ProwseSubstituted forHøjbjergat 59'minutes
- 22RedmondSubstituted forSimsat 81'minutes
- 9RodriguezSubstituted forLongat 45'minutes
- Ben Atkinson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Liverpool 0, Southampton 1.
Goal! Liverpool 0, Southampton 1. Shane Long (Southampton) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Josh Sims following a fast break.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Jack Stephens.
Foul by Adam Lallana (Liverpool).
Oriol Romeu (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Liverpool. Georginio Wijnaldum replaces Philippe Coutinho.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Cédric Soares.
Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Oriol Romeu.
Substitution, Southampton. Josh Sims replaces Nathan Redmond.
Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Emre Can.
Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Adam Lallana.
Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Emre Can.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Jack Stephens.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Dusan Tadic.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Dejan Lovren.
Attempt blocked. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nathan Redmond.