Liverpool vs. Everton: 6 Things We Learned from FA Cup Semifinal
Liverpool have won their way through to the FA Cup final after beating Merseyside rivals Everton 2-1 at Wembley in the semifinal.
Much of the pre-match talk was centred around the Blues being higher than the Reds in the Premier League and coming into the game in far better form, but ultimately this counted for little, as the Reds produced an assured and aggressive second-half display to swat the Blues aside.
Luis Suarez cancelled out Nikica Jelavic's opener, both goals scored after defensive errors, before Andy Carroll headed home the match winner with 86 minutes on the clock.
Here are six things we learned in the FA Cup semifinal.
Jordan Henderson's Hair Gel Was the Trick All Along!!!!
After scoring only six goals all season long, Andy Carroll has now scored twice in his and Liverpool's last two games, and full-back Martin Kelly has exposed the real reason why on Twitter.
According to Kelly, who returned to the squad after injury to be on the bench for the semifinal against Everton, Carroll has used Jordan Henderson's hair gel for the past two matches.
Both of his goals, against Blackburn and now Everton, have come from headers by the Geordie forward, lending further credence to the fact that this was the real boost that Andy has needed all season. He will now doubtless be keen to secure his own stash of the miraculous mane manager.
Rumours that Henderson was last seen trying to rub the gel on his boots have so far been unconfirmed.
Brad Jones: Third-Choice Keeper, but First-Class Fella
From training every day at Melwood without being involved with the first team matches to suddenly keeping goal against Everton in a Wembley semifinal, it has been quite a turnaround in the past couple of weeks for Brad Jones.
The Aussie keeper made a few comfortable saves during the match and did largely well in the air, and the genuine pleasure of his teammates at the end of the match made it openly apparent that Jones had played his part in an important victory.
Jones spoke well of his teammates after the match and admitted that regular goalkeeper Pepe Reina was "the main man," and that he was happy to just be involved.
Former Middlesbrough stopper Jones has won a lot of respect and admiration from supporters over the past week for the way he has battled through personal issues in the past year, culminating in him saving a penalty against Blackburn midweek and now helping the Reds through to the FA Cup final.
Suarez and Carroll: Scourge of Everton
After the pair scored both the goals against Everton at Goodison Park this season, they repeated the feat at Wembley to send Liverpool to the FA Cup final.
Luis Suarez one, Andy Carroll two, Liverpool to Wembley for their third visit this season and David Moyes—10 years into his Everton career—stuck on zero trophy wins.
The two showed a few more signs against Everton of getting their partnership going, but more importantly—since Suarez has already more than solidified his place in the starting 11 on a regular basis—Andy Carroll showed the sort of work ethic and continual movement that is necessary for a regularly-starting forward.
Two goals in two starts inside a week will help both his confidence and fitness, and Liverpool fans will be hoping they get a chance to continue their partnership from the start in the forthcoming fixtures.
Jose Enrique: The Kick Up the Backside the Full-Back Needs?
After a great start to the season, Jose Enrique's Liverpool form has tailed off dramatically, to the point that he is no longer an automatic start for Kenny Dalglish.
In fact, the Spaniard's last full 90 minutes for the Reds was on April 1st—when he ended the game in goal.
Left on the bench for both the Blackburn match and the Everton FA Cup semifinal, Jose Enrique must realise that no direct competition for his place—Fabio Aurelio is injured most of the time and out of contract at the end of the season, and Jack Robinson is recovering from injury and still inexperienced—is no guarantee of staying on the team.
Hopefully this stint out of the side will shock Jose Enrique back to his best form, working harder and above all else playing his passes quicker, as this, more than anything else, has contributed to his individual mistakes recently.
Hillsborough: 23 Years on and Still Waiting for Justice, but the Message Remains
Before the FA Cup semifinal match started, both Liverpool and Everton fans and players alike observed a minute's silence to remember the 96 fans who tragically lost their lives at Hillsborough, 23 years ago.
On the eve of the anniversary itself, the message from fans remains loud and strong: they want answers and justice.
The campaign supported by Liverpool FC and fans, encouraging others to not buy the Sun newspaper, was in full view during the game—from both sets of fans.
The lies printed in that paper affected families of both colours in the city, of course.
Liverpool will host the annual remembrance service for the Hillsborough victims at Anfield the day after this semifinal.
Liverpool to Revisit Wembley: Chelsea or Spurs to Stand in Their Way?
After six years without any silverware, Liverpool are now just a single game away from ending this current campaign with a domestic trophy double in the cabinet.
Having dispatched of super-rivals Manchester United and Everton, as well as Stoke City, Oldham Athletic and Brighton and Hove Albion to reach the final, either Tottenham Hotspur or Chelsea will be the final hurdle to overcome.
Either of the London sides will present a big test for the Reds, with both sides comfortably ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League, but the cup version of Liverpool have been a different animal this season, and the Reds will fancy their chances, whoever the opponents.
Five Premier League fixtures are still to be completed this season, so while a seventh-or-so placed finish is not what Kopites were hoping for from Kenny Dalglish's first full season back at the helm, nobody could argue with a League Cup and FA Cup double.
There is plenty of work to do over the next month—let's see that form continue to pick up from here until the end of the season, Reds.