Carroll ignores the criticism
Liverpool striker Andy Carroll is determined to ignore the criticism which has come his way since his record-breaking move to Anfield.
The £35million signing, the most paid for a British player, did his bit to persuade the doubters he can cut it at the highest level by scoring the goal which put the Reds into the FA Cup final at the expense of city rivals Everton.
Luis Suarez's second-half strike to cancel out Nikica Jelavic's opener appeared to have sent the semi-final into extra time before Carroll's header four minutes from the end provided the winner.
It was the first time he had scored in consecutive matches, having found the net in added time at Blackburn on Tuesday, since his move from Newcastle in January 2011.
That maintained his record of finishing on the winning side every time he has scored - admittedly still only nine occasions in 51 appearances.
"I've had some criticism but I kept on going and to get the winner here is a great feeling," the 23-year-old, who missed a straightforward header early in the second half, told ESPN.
"I had a few chances and I probably should have scored earlier but I had to wait until the end.
"It's the best feeling ever. We worked hard and getting a goal at the end there was great.
"I believed in myself every day and I got my chance here. I've started two games and scored two goals, so it's great."
Manager Kenny Dalglish has stoutly defended the striker, who has yet to find anything resembling the form which made him such a threat for the Magpies, and his team-mates have also always rallied round him.
Captain Steven Gerrard insisted the criticism directed at Carroll was "nonsense".
"We are all happy for him. He is a good player and it just goes to show that all that is written about him is nonsense," he said.
"Andy's always in the spotlight because of how much we paid for him but I think on days like this one he shows his critics what he is all about.
"He doesn't hide and he takes criticism on the chin.
"We are pleased to have him, he has stepped up today, he has taken the criticism on the chin and he has responded very well and is the hero getting us the winner.
"That's what we bought him for, to score big goals, and he's delivered."
Gerrard also dedicated the victory to the families of the 96 fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster, the 23rd anniversary of which is tomorrow.
"We've got to dedicate this win to all of the families connected with Hillsborough," the England international, who will attend a memorial service on Sunday, told the club's website.
"All of the players and the staff will be at Anfield tomorrow to pay our respects at the service, and it's so nice to be able to dedicate a win to those people."