MX23RW : Friday, July 30 01:14:39| >> :120:8897:8897:
Jan 5, 2016 at 8pm UK at bet365 Stadium
StokeStoke City
FT(HT: 0-1)
Ibe (37')

Result: Jordon Ibe puts Liverpool in control

Jordon Ibe nets the only goal of the game as Liverpool record a 1-0 victory from the first leg of their League Cup semi-final away at Stoke City.

A 37th-minute strike from Jordon Ibe handed Liverpool a 1-0 first-leg advantage over Stoke City in the League Cup semi-final between the two sides at the Britannia Stadium this evening.

However, the victory in the Potteries may have come at a cost to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who lost the services of Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren to hamstring injuries during the first half.

Philippe Coutinho sits injured during the League Cup semi-final between Stoke and Liverpool on January 5, 2016© Getty Images

Without a natural centre-forward on the pitch as a result of Klopp's decision to drop Christian Benteke, there was plenty of fluidity about the visitors in an attacking sense and it came as little surprise when they broke the deadlock.

Adam Lallana beat the Stoke offside trap to latch on to James Milner's through-ball down the right flank. From there, the England international cut the ball back for Joe Allen, only for the Welsh midfielder to mis-hit his shot. Fortunately for the travelling Reds, it fell for kindly for Ibe - Coutinho's replacement - to power his shot into the bottom corner of Jack Butland's net.

Roberto Firmino congratulates Jordon Ibe after he scores during the League Cup semi-final between Stoke and Liverpool on January 5, 2016© Getty Images

As the half wore on Stoke's Austrian Marko Arnautovic spurned a headed opportunity, while up the other end Roberto Firmino was robbed of possession by Stoke centre-back Ryan Shawcross as he was about to shoot and Ibe fired wide from a narrow angle.

The second half continued in a similar vein, with Liverpool looking the more likely to score as hosting Stoke struggled to produce the free-flowing football that they had often produced in recent weeks.

Emre Can and Ibrahim Afellay in action during the League Cup semi-final between Stoke and Liverpool on January 5, 2016© Getty Images

The closest that they came to an equaliser was 14 minutes from time when it seemed that Joselu's shot - which deflected off Kolo Toure - would cause problems for Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, but the Belgian goalkeeper was able to tip the ball over the crossbar.

The two sides will now play out the second leg at Anfield on January 26, with a place in the final at Wembley at stake.

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Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield on August 29, 2015
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Friday's key events

· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

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