Joe Allen admitted feeling some nerves as he stepped up to take the decisive penalty in Liverpool's Capital One Cup semi-final success against Stoke City but described seeing his strike hit the back of the net as 'an incredible feeling'.
The Welshman confidently netted the 14th spot-kick of a fraught shootout to secure a trip to Wembley for Jürgen Klopp's side after Simon Mignolet followed up a save from Peter Crouch by also denying Marc Muniesa.
Allen's conversion was rapturously received by an Anfield crowd who were made to sweat over the course of 90 minutes plus extra-time, but the midfielder insisted the manner of the victory makes it even more satisfying.
“It means so much. It's an incredible feeling. We made it difficult for ourselves but, in some ways, that makes it more exciting,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
“The atmosphere after the penalty went in was incredible and now everyone can't wait for Wembley.
“I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous but I picked my spot and thankfully it hit the back of the net. Anfield went off and that's what football's all about – [it's a] great feeling.”
Reds across the world have been put through the wringer by their team in recent days, with the dramatic semi-final win over Stoke coming off the back of an unforgettable 5-4 victory against Norwich City sealed in injury time.
Allen believes the added tension also brings excitement, though he expects his teammates to soon find the consistency necessary to make things much more straightforward for supporters and themselves.
“That seems to be the way we do things now. It's probably not good for the stress levels but it's certainly exciting,” he added.
“I think the great thing is, we're yet to find that consistent form but in some ways we're excited because we think it's just on the horizon. If we can build that momentum then we can really kick on.
“You have to have that self-belief that things will come good. I think consistency will be the key for us.
“We've pulled off some great results and had some great performances along the way but I think it's just about doing it as often as we can and we know then we're a threat to anyone.”
The 25-year-old also gave special mention to Jon Flanagan, who was handed his first start for the club in 626 days as a result of an injury to Nathaniel Clyne and acquitted himself admirably across the 105 minutes he featured in.
Allen said: “I'd like to give a little mention for Flanno.
“To start tonight in a semi-final after so long out and keep going as long he did, that's incredible.
“The lads can't quite believe it but that sums Flanno up, that's the way he is. It's incredible how deep he can dig.”