Carroll sends Liverpool to FA Cup final
Andy Carroll's late header kept Liverpool’s dreams of a domestic cup double alive.
The under-fire £35million striker flicked in substitute Craig Bellamy’s 86th-minute free-kick to break Everton hearts.
David Moyes' Toffees had taken the lead thanks to a defensive cock-up between Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger.
They hesitated in clearing their lines and when Carragher eventually attempted to play the ball, he succeeded only in smashing it into Tim Cahill.
The rebound fell favourably to Nikica Jelavic who coolly slotted a shot between the legs of a diving Brad Jones to put Everton ahead at the break.
And it looked like Carroll was going to have one of those afternoons which have been all too regular since his January 2011 move from Newcastle when he missed a sitter 60 seconds into the second half.
He headed Stewart Downing’s inviting cross to the far post wide from close range, prompting the striker to rightly hide his face under his shirt.
But fortunately for Liverpool, Carroll’s strike partner Luis Suarez is sharper in front of goal, especially when gifted opportunities like the one he received in the 62nd minute.
The otherwise excellent Sylvain Distin badly mishit 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 Steven Gerrard.
But Liverpool took full advantage when Bellamy, who had replaced Downing, whipped in a free-kick for Carroll to head home.
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.
The Reds will now face the winner of Chelsea's match with Tottenham as they look to add to their Carling Cup success.
For Everton, however, their priority now will be finishing ahead of their local rivals in the Premier League — something they have done only once since its inception. - www.thesun.co.uk