Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish says he is delighted with Andy Carroll after the £35 million striker scored his first Premier League goal of the season in the 2-0 win over Everton in the Merseyside derby on Saturday.
Carroll turned in the opener from close range in the 71st minute to end a drought of more than 11 hours worth of playing time without a goal, before Luis Suarez sealed the victory eight minutes from time.
Everton were furious that Jack Rodwell was sent-off for a challenge on Suarez in the 23rd minute but Dalglish was keen after the match to focus on his side's success and singled out under-pressure Carroll for praise.
"Obviously it will be a boost for him to get his first league goal but I don't know what all the fuss is about,” Dalglish told reporters. “We are delighted with him. He has worked really hard in training and he deserved it.
"Andy has been fantastic, his stats in training are better than most peoples so I don't know what the fuss is about. The price-tag is irrelevant and has nothing to do with his form or performances. He is just as important to us as [Jay] Spearing, [Steven] Gerrard or [Jamie] Carragher, who cost us nothing.
"I don't think confidence is the problem with Carroll it's the media. You need to let him live a little bit, you keep talking about his private life but don't know anything about it.”
Gerrard continued his return from a groin injury after replacing Charlie Adam in the 67th minute and could now be in line for a call-up to Fabio Capello's England squad for the crunch Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro.
Dalglish is pleased with the progress the Liverpool captain has made in his recovery but endorsed a view expressed by Gerrard on Friday that he is probably not ready to play for England.
“It's another step forward for Steven, coming on in the derby and getting some games under his belt,” Dalglish added. “He had no reaction after the game. Steven aired his views on England yesterday and I agree with him.”