Carroll proves worth as Liverpool head for FA Cup final

Liverpool 2 Everton 1

Liverpool's much-maligned record signing Andy Carroll went some way to
justifying his huge price with the goal which put his side into their
first FA Cup final since 2006 and ended the dreams of Everton in the
all-Merseyside encounter at Wembley.

The £35million striker had endured a testing afternoon, heading one straightforward chance wide, but came up with the winner four minutes from time at Wembley.

Everton had earlier gone ahead following a first-half defensive blunder which gave Nikica Jelavic a simple chance. Luis Suarez levelled matters in the second half following another defensive howler.

It could be argued the failure of Carroll to score consistently partly contributed to the removal of director of football Damien Comolli by American owners Fenway Sports Group in a ruthless move on Thursday.

Manager Kenny Dalglish has steadfastly defended his big striker despite all the criticism.

Both the Reds boss and the 23-year-old forward will be hoping such a significant goal in Liverpool's season - hopes of Champions League qualification having been ended by a woeful run of results - will be a turning point for both of them.

Having already won the Carling Cup in February Liverpool remain on course for a cup double, which has only been achieved three times previously - and once by themselves.

Past experience favoured Liverpool against Everton at Wembley in this competition, having had two FA Cup final wins against their near-neighbours in 1986 and 1989.

Of the four FA Cup semi-finals the teams had contested, Everton had been victorious in only the first in 1906 and they went on to win the competition.

But the history did not weigh heavy on the Toffees, who had the better of a relatively incident-free first half with neither goalkeeper having a proper save to make.

That statistic would have been different had Jay Spearing not snatched at a third-minute chance after Andy Carroll had worked space to cut the ball back to the edge of the area.

With no goals in 48 previous matches of his Liverpool career Spearing was the last man the Reds would have wanted to see in a shooting position and he lived up to expectations by firing over.

Everton had two off-target free-kicks from Leighton Baines and Jelavic, who also had an overhead kick saved by Brad Jones, while Martin Skrtel shot tamely at Tim Howard after Steven Gerrard had picked out Carroll.

It may have been no real surprise the opening goal came from a mistake but the source of the error was.

Carragher, a veteran of 696 appearances, hesitated along with stand-in left-back Agger when the ball dropped in the penalty area and when the vice-captain eventually decided to deal with it he succeeded only in driving it at Tim Cahill.

The rebound fell favourably to Jelavic who coolly slotted a shot between the legs of a diving Jones to spark wild celebrations from Moyes on the touchline.

Carroll looked like he was to have one of those afternoons which have been all-too-regular since his January 2011 move from Newcastle with a glaring miss just two minutes into the second half.

Stewart Downing's inviting cross to the far post was headed wide from close range, prompting the striker to rightly hide his face under his shirt and his manager put his head in his hands.

Fortunately for Carroll strike partner Suarez is sharper in front of goal, especially when gifted opportunities like the one in the 62nd minute.

The otherwise-excellent Sylvain Distin badly mis-hit a backpass from wide on Everton's left and the Uruguay international raced into the area to slide a low shot with the outside of his right foot past Howard.

Carroll was at it again in the 78th minute, dragging wide left-footed from a good position but Jelavic, who at £5.5million already looks a bargain, was much closer in drilling a shot into the side-netting.

Suarez got in the way of another Carroll effort which bounced wide before Everton substitute Seamus Coleman, booked soon after coming on, was lucky to escape a second caution when he clattered into Gerrard but Liverpool took full advantage.

Craig Bellamy, on for Downing, whipped in the 86th-minute free-kick and Carroll flicked in a header.

Liverpool could even afford for another substitute Maxi Rodriguez to hit the post from close range as they booked a third appearance at Wembley in three months and kept their season alive.

For Everton, however, their priority now will be finishing ahead of their local rivals in the Barclays Premier League, something they have done only once since its inception.

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone