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Carroll seals derby glory for Reds
Andy Carroll went from zero to hero again on Saturday as Liverpool produced a second-half comeback to beat Everton 2-1 and reach the FA Cup final.
Carroll endured a personal nightmare at Wembley - missing an absolute sitter - but manager Kenny Dalglish was rewarded for sticking with the £35million striker for the second game in succession as he nodded home an 87th-minute winner.
Luis Suarez had earlier cancelled out Nikica Jelavic's first-half opener, with both goals the result of defensive howlers.
Everton had two off-target free-kicks from Leighton Baines and Jelavic, who also had an overhead kick saved by Brad Jones, while Martin Skrtel shot tamely at Tim Howard after Steven Gerrard had picked out Carroll.
It may have been no real surprise the opening goal came from a mistake but the source of the error was. Jamie Carragher, a veteran of 696 appearances, hesitated along with stand-in left-back Daniel Agger when the ball dropped in the penalty 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 a diving Jones to spark wild celebrations from David Moyes on the touchline.
Carroll looked like he was to have one of those afternoons which have been all-too-regular since his January 2011 move from Newcastle with a glaring miss just two minutes into the second half. Stewart Downing's inviting cross to the far post was headed wide from close range, prompting the striker to rightly hide his face under his shirt.
Fortunately for Carroll strike partner Suarez is sharper in front of goal, especially when gifted opportunities like the one in the 62nd minute. The otherwise-excellent Sylvain Distin badly mis-hit 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.
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 Gerrard but Liverpool took full advantage. Craig Bellamy, on for Downing, whipped in the 86th-minute free-kick and Carroll flicked in a header.
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 and kept their season alive.