Words float around Merseyside as fast as taps run out across bars along the fields of Anfield Road. Gutted. Disappointed. Incensed. Pathetic.
Even though the Reds lost 2-1 to a Chelsea side that fell apart in the second half—with the Blues putting 10 men behind the ball, reminiscent of their tactics against Barcelona—there was someone who came in and stepped up, as the entire Liverpool team played without direction.
Liverpool's No. 9, Andy Carroll, was substituted for Jay Spearing in the 55th minute. Carroll showed some spirit and ferocity in getting the ball and controlling the ball time and time again.
His ridiculous control in the 64th minute was just jaw-dropping. It was almost like Luis Suarez had scored, except he was 6'3" and English. Carroll delivered the ball into the top of the net as Petr Cech clawed at the ball, propelling Liverpool's spirits up and putting the score line at 2-1.
In the 82nd minute, there was a controversial call by the linesman, calling Carroll's header, which on replay looked as if the ball had crossed the plane between the goal line. The goal was called a save by Cech—the commentators and the referees were sure it was a save, too.
Is this another instance where goal-line replay technology would have saved a controversial call in a big game between two giant clubs? [Video here.]
As the game drew on, Chelsea seemed to have closed up shop, putting all 10 outfield men behind the ball, attempting the kick the ball into Liverpool's half until the final minute. Steven Gerrard fouled Didier Drogba, who earlier fell down grabbing his groin as if he had pulled something there, 35 yards or so out from the goal. Frank Lampard took the free kick, and Reina made a clumsy save, holding Chelsea at bay.
Although the Reds lost, at what seemed a doable double, they fell short, perhaps from the pressure of placing eighth in the league, from achieving that goal. However, to me, this signals a shift in Liverpool's fortunes. Carroll seemed fired up and ready to go every time he touched the ball.
Even when he played against Fulham last game, he was harassing the Fulham back four. This, to me, shows that Carroll has a future in a Liverpool shirt. All he needs is to finalize his finishing in the air.
Criticize him if you will, but he's the man who scored (almost twice) for the Reds. He's the man who wanted a win more than any other Liverpool player on the pitch.
Jordan Henderson shanked a goal way up into the stands. Liverpool captain Gerrard did the same. Glen Johnson and Suarez may have hit the target, but none were as quality as Carroll's goal. So here's to you, Andy Carroll, Liverpool's No. 9.
Here Are My Questions About the Match
Why was Spearing in the starting XI? He's nowhere near Liverpool quality. His poor tackling and positional awareness on the pitch today suggest his quality. He's the one who gave the ball away to Juan Manuel Mata, leading to the Chelsea goal.
Where was Dirk Kuyt from the get-go? He should have been starting against Chelsea. He would have been the one tiring out the back four, sprinting from end to end, hassling defenders all day.
Why was Craig Bellamy replaced for Kuyt? Henderson would have been the man to be substituted, as his form this game just wasn't up to par. Besides, Bellamy and Kuyt's experience in Cup games would have been beneficial to the squad.
Why wasn't Carroll in the lineup right at halftime?
Does this mean the end for Kenny Dalglish?
Post your thoughts and comments about the FA Cup Final against Chelsea here.