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The towering striker confounded his critics by leaping to nod home Bellamy's free kick and send the Anfield club into the FA Cup final

Liverpool's victorious players praised match-winner Andy Carroll for his contribution in the comeback that defeated Everton 2-1 in the side's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

Despite only registering 10 touches in the first half, Carroll came alive in the second period, proving a constant menace until his 86th minute header booked a place in the FA Cup final.

His captain, Steven Gerrard told ESPN: "He takes criticism on the chin. That's what we bought him for – to step up and score big goals – he's delivered today."

Kenny Dalglish's side fell behind to a first-half Nikica Jelavic goal that was largely the fault of Daniel Agger and Jamie Carragher's hesitancy on the edge of their own box.

Carragher hailed Carroll's winning goal, suggesting the striker's price-tag should be forgotten after such an important goal.

"A goal against Everton in a semi-final he'll be remembered forever for that.

"That goal is worth £35million on it's own for me."

Goalkeeper Brad Jones played with confidence given that it was just his fourth outing as a Liverpool player and he also praised Carroll's dedication to his game.

"He's fantastic. The media knock him but as a guy he's a top man, he works hard despite what the media want to say," he said.

"He stays back, does extra training. He deserves this goal at Wembley."

Carroll also gave his opinion on his performance and claimed his winner was the best moment of his career so far.

"It's [scoring the winner] the best feeling ever and for the lads and the fans it's even better," he beamed.

"We worked hard and to get the goal at the end was great.

"I had a few chances that I probably should have scored earlier but I kept at it and it was a great ball in from Craig [Bellamy] and thankfully I did score.

"I've had some criticism but I've just kept on going and to get the winner here is great.

"I believe in myself every day and I've got my chance now, I've got two goals in two games, it's great."

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