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Carroll has the final say

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 £35m 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 it 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.

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.

The Toffees had the better of a relatively incident-free first half with neither goalkeeper having a proper save to make. It may have been no real surprise the opening goal came from a mistake but the source of the error was Jamie Carragher, who hesitated along with stand-in left-back Daniel Agger when the ball dropped in the 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 Jones.

The 62nd-minute equaliser was another gift. The otherwise-excellent Sylvain Distin badly mis-hit a backpass from wide on Everton's left and Suarez raced into the area to slide a low shot with the outside of his right foot past Howard.

But Liverpool had the final say. Craig Bellamy whipped in an 86th-minute free-kick after a foul by sub Seamus Coleman and Carroll flicked in a header.

Sunday Indo Sport