Advantage Liverpool as Ibe downs Stoke in League Cup

LONDON: Jordon Ibe came off the bench to drive home the winner as Liverpool took a big step towards reaching the League Cup final with a 1-0 victory at Stoke City in the first leg of their last-four tie on Tuesday.

Ibe was summoned into the action early and fired home left-footed in the first half as Juergen Klopp's side grabbed a narrow but potentially priceless advantage ahead of the return leg on January 26.

Liverpool's hopes of a record-extending ninth League Cup title were given a stern examination in the second half as Stoke piled forward in search of an equaliser. However, a makeshift defence featuring Lucas Leiva and Kolo Toure stood firm.

The prize on offer is a place in the final against Manchester City or Everton who play the first leg of their semi-final at Goodison Park on Wednesday.