FA Cup semi-finals: Carroll and Suarez investment finally pays off
You have to feel for Andy Carroll. He was a Newcastle goalscoring hero, but Liverpool - and inflated transfer fees - changed all that.
Carroll went from being a Toon superstar to 'the £35 million man' and the pressure was on him from day one at Anfield. Whichever way you look at it, he was under pressure to live up to the expectation that went with his price tag.
As with Fernando Torres at Chelsea, strikers are judged by goals. That never tells the whole story. Torres, who Carroll replaced at Liverpool, has made a big contribution. But all too often, the fans have a distorted perspective.
Suddenly, Carroll is a hero again. His winning goal in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final win against Everton at Wembley has kept alive the Reds' hopes of making it a cup double season.
It's taken them a while to make somewhere near the level of impact Liverpool fans were expecting, but the investment made in Carroll and Luis Suarez paid dividends on Saturday.
Keystone Cops defending
The likes of Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson would have been cringing when some Keystone Cops style defending let in-form Everton striker Nikica Jelavic in to give his side a first half lead. Daniel Agger and Jamie Carragher got themselves in a muddle and Carragher's attempted clearance rebounded off Tim Cahill to present Jelavic with his opportunity.
Carroll is a determined chap. He squandered a number of chances and put a close range free header wide when it would have been easier to score, before Suarez pounced on a poor Sylvain Distin backpass in the 62nd minute to fire in the equaliser.
Carroll's value in terms of his goals compared to his transfer fee has been the subject of much discussion, but that isn't the case with Craig Bellamy, who made a vital contribution when his free-kick gave Carroll the chance for his moment of glory in the closing minutes. Bellamy may be at the tail end of his career, but he still has the ability to make an impact.
Not getting it right first time wasn't going to deter Carroll - and a half-time deficit wasn't something Kenny Dalglish was overly concerned about.
Speaking after his side's victory, the Reds boss said: "We weren't going to throw in the towel. That's not the way we've been brought up."
FA CUP SEMI-FINALS:
Both games at Wembley Stadium
Saturday 14th April (kick-off 12:30)
Liverpool 2-1 Everton
Sunday 15th April (kick-off 18:00)
Tottenham vs Chelsea
The FA Cup final will be played at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 5th May