Relief and joy. The two most jointly felt emotions amongst the Liverpool faithful right now. The strikers did their job, grabbing a goal each for their undying efforts and we dumped our Merseyside rivals Everton out of the FA Cup.
Andy Carroll celebrated yet another joyous start for the Reds after he managed to score the crucial goal late on in the game at Wembley to see Liverpool through to their second cup final during this 2011/12 campaign. The win gives Liverpool another chance for silverware this season with only Chelsea or Tottenham (their semi-final is to be played tomorrow) standing in their way of us and our second piece of silverware this term.
So, to the game. I personally think that this game will be the game where our strikers performed. They worked well as a team and looked eager to score goals. Andy Carroll was doing his best to pounce on every loose ball, although firing the ball at Tim Howard’s goal at almost random fashion. Luis Suarez was in and around that penalty box and tried to sniff out every oppourtunity that could be found. Could perhaps be criticized slightly for being a little to show-offy due to the nature of his dribbling – finding ‘pannas’ everytime he had the chance. Although some indeed did come off and worked fantastically in his favour.
Errors seemed to be the order of the day for this one. Liverpool FC went 1-0 down in a rather closely contested 1st half, with both Carragher and Agger being caught with a defensive mix-up. Carragher failing to clear his lines and Jelavic having Carragher’s clearance rebound to him for an easy goal.
Liverpool lacked innovation in the first half. As so often seen this season, this Liverpool side was disappointing. It showed little flashes of brilliance in the first half, with noone taking the real risks in the midfield to really help dominate the game, and more importantly at that point, score the equalizer. Liverpool went into the break 1-0 down and distraught at the thought of being behind their fierce rivals after a closely contested first half.
But Liverpool came back in the second half with a vengeance. As early as the 47th minute, Stewart Downing produced an inch perfect cross that seemed destined for the back of the net with the guidance of Andy Carroll’s header. Somehow, beyond at least 15 laws of physics, the ball didn’t go in.
Liverpool still lacked the spark. But another mistake, this time from Everton defender Sylvain Distin, as the defender, in the heat of the moment, played a pass that gave Luis Suarez a clear path between him and the goal. There never seemed a doubt as to whether the Uruguayan would put it into the back of the net, as the striker used the outside of his foot to put the ball into the back of the net into Tim Howard’s far post.
Kenny Dalglish brought fresh legs on, Rodriguez and Bellamy being decisive in the closing moments. On the 87th minute mark, Liverpool had a free kick on the left wing. Craig Bellamy then put in a beautiful ball for Andy Carroll to make it 2-1. Surely game over. A game that produced lots of end-to-end football. A fantastic spectacle to watch.
Two Liverpool Fans’ Man of the Match: Luis Suarez