Southampton’s Shane Long, center, scores as Henderson looks on.                                                     Photo: Dave Thompson, AP

By Oladapo Okeowo

Southampton have qualified for the final of this season’s English Football League Cup after defeating Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield in the second leg on Wednesday.

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Liverpool laid siege to Southampton’s goal in the second half but Shane Long finished a quick counter to send his team to the finals of the EFL Cup.

The Saints achieved this feat without conceding a goal (the first team to do this), losing valuable personnel- Ronald Koeman, Victor Wanyama, Sadio Mane- and playing without their talisman and captain, Virgil van Dijk. This club sure has found a way to offset the effects of losing important components.

The victory takes the Saints to their first Cup final since 1979 and offers the possibility of their first Cup win since 1976 when they beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final.

The loss for the Kops marked the end of Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten run in semi-finals. He had previously played six and won them all.

The game was a match of two halves with Southampton dominating the first half and being profligate in front of goal. The second half was all Liverpool who bombarded Southampton’s goal in search of the game-leveling goal.

The Saints sat back and were content to give the ball to Liverpool and attack on a counter. A strategy that worked beautifully as Liverpool barely got clear-cut chances and the winning goal was off a counter-attack.

They would face either one of Manchester United or Hull City in the final at Wembley on February 26.