Liverpool 2-1 Everton – Carroll Heads Reds into FA Cup Final

By Jonathan Carroll

Andy Carroll scored his second goal in a week to help Kenny Dalglish’s men into next months FA Cup Final. It was just reward after a dominating second half performance that saw the Reds take the game by the scruff of the neck and turn their dominance into goals from Luis Suarez and Carroll that sent the red half of Wembley into ecstasy.

A fitting tribute to the Hillsborough ninety-six was carried out before today’s game with an impeccable minutes silence to mark the anniversary of the tragedy. There was also a tribute to the late great Gary Ablett who played for both Merseyside clubs.

Dalglish opted to play Daniel Agger at left back with Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel in the middle with Glen Johnson at right back. Steven Gerrard was restored to midfield alongside Jay Spearing while Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing were out wide with Carroll and Suarez paired up front. In a largely unimpressive first half few chances were created. Jay Spearing shot went well wide after being set up from fifteen yards out. Nikica Jelavic’s overhead was then easily saved by Brad Jones in the Liverpool goal. Following hesitation from Jamie Carragher clearing a bouncing ball in his own eighteen yard box, his attempted clearance smacked off Daniel Agger straight into Jelavic’s path who duly dispatched the chance to put the Toffee’s one nil up. Liverpool failed to create any chances of note the rest of the first half with Suarez becoming frustrated at his lack of quality service.

The second half saw a resurgent Liverpool side take the game to Everton. Suarez was at his creative best, Gerrard played higher up the field looking to get forward more and Carroll began asserting his dominance in the air. Stewart Downing skinned Leighton Baines twice early on in the second half, the first was an inch perfect cross for Carroll who missed from six yards out after trying to kill the ball instead of just putting in on target. As Suarez pressed Sylvan Distin on the Everton left the defenders under hit back pass was calmly tucked away by the Uruguayan as the Liverpool supporters erupted in relief as much as celebration.

Maxi Rodriquez was introduced for Jordan Henderson on the left as Dalglish looked to push home his side’s superiority. Howard Webb played a good advantage for the Reds after Seamus Coleman handled but Carrolls left foot shot went narrowly wide. The pressure was starting to take its toll on Everton who were unable to get out of their own half and tired from chasing the ball the longer the game went on. Jelavic went the closest for the Blues with a left foot strike after a Fellaini flick on but failed to hit the target. Everton looked to pressure Liverpool higher up the field with Jay Spearing coughing up possession multiple times unnecessarily.

Coleman was once again involved for the wrong reasons after he avoided a second yellow card for a foul on Steven Gerrard on the Liverpool left near the Everton by line. Substitute Craig Bellamy whipped in a delightful free-kick and Carroll fended off Fellaini’s attempt to mark him to glance home from five yards out. Cue hysteria in the red half of Wembley. Just reward for the Geordie after what has been a largely frustrating season. Slowly but surely Carroll is starting to build a partnership with Luis Suarez. This is definitely something to explore more towards the end of the season and leading up to the FA Cup Final.

Following a week in which John Henry and Tom Werner flew into town to dismiss Director of Football Damian Comolli, Dr Brukner and goalkeeping coach John Achterberg this was a much needed remedy to the disappointing league campaign thus far. In no way will two cup wins mask the failure in the league but it could possibly supply a foundation of success to build upon. Something that has been needed since the nightmare of Hicks, Gillett and Roy Hodgson. Most care to forget the state of disrepair Liverpool were in when Dalglish was appointed as manager and with huge investment instant success is needed to satisfy owners and fans alike. Liverpool supporters should get an idea of FSG and their vision for the club in the summer depending on their willingness to invest further in the squad. In what will rightly be labeled a bad season could possibly see Liverpool take a two cup haul from Wembley yet, while a good season for other teams is to finish above Liverpool Football Club. Some clubs will always exist in the shadow of their more successful neighbour.

Liverpool

  • 01 Jones – 7
  • 02 Johnson – 7
  • 05 Agger – 7
  • 23 Carragher – 5
  • 37 Skrtel – 6 (Booked)
  • 08 Gerrard – 7
  • 14 Henderson – 6(Booked) (Maxi – 75′ )
  • 19 Downing – 6 (Bellamy – 84′ )
  • 20 Spearing – 5
  • 07 Suarez – 8
  • 09 Carroll – 8

Substitutes

  • 42 Gulacsi
  • 03 Jose Enrique
  • 34 Kelly
  • 11 Maxi
  • 33 Shelvey
  • 18 Kuyt
  • 39 Bellamy

Everton

  • 24 Howard – 7
  • 03 Baines – 5 (Anichebe – 88′ )
  • 05 Heitinga – 6
  • 15 Distin – 4 (Booked)
  • 18 Neville – 6
  • 04 Gibson – 4
  • 17 Cahill – 6
  • 21 Osman – 6
  • 25 Fellaini – 6
  • 07 Jelavic – 7 (Booked)
  • 19 Gueye – 5 (Coleman – 68′ Booked )

Substitutes

  • 12 Hahnemann
  • 02 Hibbert
  • 06 Jagielka
  • 23 Coleman
  • 11 Stracqualursi
  • 14 McFadden
  • 28 Anichebe
Referee: Howard Webb
Attendance: 87,231

Match Statistics

Liverpool                                Everton

Possession                 56%                                       44%

Shots                           14                                            9

Shots on Target           7                                              5

Corner                          8                                             12

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About Jonathan Carroll

I’m a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Born and bred in Ireland I played Gaelic football and soccer while growing up and attended the prestigious Colaiste Ide in Dublin to prepare for a soccer scholarship to the USA. I played soccer at Thomas University in Georgia and was made team captain in my junior and senior years. I was honored to become an All-American in those same years. I graduated in 2007 and coached high school and collegiate level soccer programs incorporating year round strength and conditioning techniques with great success. I moved to Boston in 2011 and went on to work at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning. I am currently the head strength and conditioning coach for the Boston Wolfe Tones Gaelic football team. Qualifications: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA) USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach FMS Certified United States Soccer Federation “D” License Football Association of Ireland Certified

One thought on “Liverpool 2-1 Everton – Carroll Heads Reds into FA Cup Final

  1. Pingback: Liverpool v West Brom: Hodgson returns to Anfield | The Red Letter

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