Liverpool 2-1 Everton



By Alex Byrom
Referees Editor from Wembley


Liverpool reached the FA Cup final for the first time in six years – their second trip to Wembley this season – after coming from behind to beat neighbours Everton 2-1 at Wembley in an enthralling encounter.

Defensive howlers’ let both sides in for their openers as Agger and Carragher were hesitant allowing Jelavic to fire home from the resulting melee.

Distin’s woeful back-pass allowed Suarez to equalise and as Liverpool piled on the pressure, Andy Carroll made himself a hero as he headed in Bellamy’s free kick 5 minutes from time to send Liverpool through.

Liverpool made six changes from their unbelievable 3-2 win away at Blackburn on Tuesday: Coates and Flanagan went out of defence; Carragher and Agger returned, with the Dane at left back, and Johnson reverting to right back. Of course, Doni was suspended along with Reina, so third choice keeper Brad Jones came in for his first Liverpool start. Captain Steven Gerrard returned to the heart of the midfield replacing Shelvey and Downing replaced two goal hero Maxi who was on the bench.

? DID YOU KNOW ?

Everton beat Liverpool the last time they met in the FA Cup - January 2009 in the FA Cup 4th Round - after extra time. 

This was the 419 FA Cup game between these two combined: Liverpool has 210; Everton 209. Everton had won more FA Cup games than Liverpool and won more derby Cup games too, but those counts for nothing in a game like this. 

Everton made five changes themselves from the team who thrashed Sunderland 4-0 on Monday: Baines, Distin, Gibson, Cahill and Jelavic all returned. Out went: Hibbert – Neville dropping back to right back – Jagielka, Straqualursi, McFadden and Pienaar who was Cup-Tied.

It was a frantic start with a hostile, loud and committed atmosphere, getting hearts pumping.

On 3 minutes, Jay Spearing, who has never scored for Liverpool – blazed over after excellent work by Andy Carroll.

Everton – who have won their last six FA Cup Semi-Finals – forced an early chance also but Baines curled the free kick over the bar. After a cagey, tight, even opening, Liverpool should have taken the lead on the quarter hour mark: Gerrard’s cross from the rights should have been finished by Skrtel but he hit it straight at Howard.

Everton made them pay as slack defending by two experienced pros gifted the Toffees the opener. Agger and Carragher decided to wait for the ball to bounce – neither of them dealt with it – so when the vice-captain slipped on clearing the ball, which hit Cahill, it fell kindly to Jelavic to tap home.It was the Croatian’s eighth goal since his January move from Rangers although replays showed him to be marginally offside – but he deserved his moment of fortune. 

? DID YOU KNOW ?

The last time Everton won 4-0 in the Premier League was April 2009, the game before the FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United - and they beat United on penalties.


As Everton now took control of the contest, Liverpool as they weathered the storm created a great chance on the stroke of half time when Andy Carroll missed his second chance heading Downing’s cross over, just before Jelavic fired a free kick over for the Toffees.

So 1-0 to Everton at the break, and they deserved it.

Liverpool came steaming out of the traps and Carroll missed chance number three when he inexplicably headed over from three yards out, even though it seemed easier to score.

Brad Jones, making his first start for Liverpool, seemed nervous and so it was proved: Baines’s inswinging free kick, Jones came and gathered thin air and Agger was forced to put it behind.

Howard Webb - who has only refereed this game twice – and he had to be busy when Skrtel and Jelavic tangled on the floor; both were cautioned for their troubles.After Carragher’s howler in the first period, it was Distin’s turn to make a hash of things. His back pass was unbelievably short, letting Suarez in for a deserved equaliser.

And it was the turning of the tide. The crucial moment. The game changer.

Liverpool overrode possession, swarming all over Everton like bees. To freshen up tired legs, both sides made changes with Gueye – booked in the first half – replaced with Coleman and Maxi on for the disappointing Henderson.

It became end-to-end stuff as both players and officials struggled to keep up with the intensity of the play.

First, Leon Osman made room on the edge of the box but his 20 yard shot was too close to Jones, and then in the blink of an eye, Carroll shot agonisingly wide of Howard’s net. After a few ricochets, and a handball by Coleman – which Howard Webb cautioned him for afterwards – the England man managed to swerve and get a shot away, but again was off target. He was getting closer.

A minute later, a rare Everton foray into the Reds’ half, Jelavic could only find the side netting after Cahill’s flick on.

On 83 minutes came the epic climax. Gerrard was brought down by Coleman who was fortunate not to see a second yellow and a red shown by Mr Webb and stayed on the pitch.

Bellamy’s centre was brilliantly headed in by Andy Carroll, his first shot on target in the match, and he wrote himself into Liverpool folklore as Liverpool completed the turnaround.

And they weren’t finished either: Suarez’s ball across and Howard somehow palmed away Maxi’s shot when it seemed destined for the roof of the net, and 3-1, and then saved easily from Suarez.

In the dying seconds, Everton couldn’t get close to the Liverpool box and then the referee blew…

? DID YOU KNOW ?

Although Everton have more Merseyside Derby wins in the FA Cup, when it comes to games in the latter rounds, Liverpool have the edge with 9 Semi-Final wins to Everton's 7. 

The euphoria from the red end of Wembley was echoed on the Liverpool bench and rubbed off onto the players on the pitch as Liverpool celebrated their first FA Cup final at Wembley since the late 1980’s and their first since 2006.

They await the winners of the London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham who play tomorrow. They end Everton’s semi-final streak, continue their mini-revival and ease the pressure on not only themselves but manager Kenny Daglish. to be marginally offside – but he deserved his moment of fortune.




Saturday 14th April 2012

FA Cup with Budweiser Semi Final

Wembley Stadium


Liverpool 2-1 Everton                   KO 12:30pm              (HT 0-1)

Suarez 62       Jelavic 24
Carroll 87

 

Liverpool:  01. Jones- 6.5/10, 02. Johnson- 7.5/10, 23. Carragher- 5.5/10, 37. Skrtel- 7/10, 05. Agger- 5/10, 14. Henderson- 5/10 (Maxi 74- 2.5/10), 08. Gerrard (C)- 7.5/10, 20. Spearing- 7/10, 19. Downing- 6.5/10 (Bellamy 84- 3/10), 07. Suarez- 8/10, 09. Carroll- 8.5/10. 

Subs not used:  42. Gulasci, 03. Enrique, 34. Kelly, 33. Shelvey, 18. Kuyt

Booked:     Skrtel (58), Henderson (72)

 

Everton:  24. Howard7.5/10, 18. Neville (C)- 7/10, 05. Heitinga- 6.5/10, 15. Distin- 3/10, 03. Baines- 6.5/10 (Anichebe 88- 1.5/10), 21. Osman- 6/10, 04. Gibson- 6.5/10, 25. Fellaini- 6/10, 19. Gueye- 5/10 (Coleman 68- 2/10), 17. Cahill- 7/10, 07. Jelavic- 8/10.

Subs not used:  12. Hahnemann, 02. Hibbert, 06. Jagielka, 11. Stracqualursi, 14. McFadden

Booked:     Distin (38), Jelavic (58), Coleman (78)

My Man of the Match:     Andy Carroll (Liverpool)- Rating 8.5/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:     Sylvain Distin (Everton)- Rating 3/10 

 




Referee: Howard Webb (South Yorkshire)- 8/10
Attendance: 87,231


Match Facts

Possession: Liverpool- 56%            Everton- 44%

Shots: Liverpool- 14            Everton- 9

Shots on target: Liverpool- 7            Everton- 5

Shots off target: Liverpool- 6            Everton- 4

Corners: Liverpool- 6            Everton- 4

Fouls: Liverpool- 8            Everton- 12

Offside: Liverpool- 3            Everton- 4

Assists: Liverpool- Bellamy            Everton- Cahill

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