Gerrard: England need Carroll
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes team-mate Andy Carroll has made a late case to go to the European Championships with England.
Carroll, the club's record signing, was their outstanding player in Saturday's 2-1 FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea despite only coming on as a substitute with 35 minutes to go.
By that time the Reds were trailing to goals from Ramires and Didier Drogba after a woeful Reds' performance allowed the Stamford Bridge side to seize the initiative.
Carroll's introduction changed the dynamic almost totally in Liverpool's favour as the 23-year-old struck a well-taken goal and had a late header clawed off the line by goalkeeper Petr Cech.
But what was more impressive, was the former Newcastle's forward's all-round contribution as he worked hard to get involved and link up play.
He has not had the best of starts to his Anfield career, scoring just eight goals this season, but has shown signs of progress in the last couple of months.
Gerrard believes that is something new England manager Roy Hodgson should take into consideration.
"Credit to Andy who came on and played brilliantly well," said the captain of Carroll's introduction.
"He changed the way we played. We were a lot better with him in the team, we were a lot more direct, we created more, we were more of a threat.
"I think his form the last two or three months has been fantastic and he is certainly pushing for a place back in the England squad in my opinion."
The debate over whether Carroll's far-post header went over the line may still be raging but Gerrard was sympathetic to the difficulties faced by referee Phil Dowd and his assistant Andrew Garratt.
"It is difficult for officials to give decisions like that," admitted Gerrard.
"There is an argument that maybe it is [over the line] on the computer image but when you look at the replay...
"Phil Dowd is standing by me and the linesman is 40 yards away - it is impossible to give a yes or a no on it.
"We have been debating technology for years and it will continue until it comes in. The officials need a bit of help.
"It was a final and there were 90,000 people there. I am not 100% sure whether it was or it wasn't but there is certainly an argument there.
"Until the technology comes in we will continue to have these conversations after games."
Defeat to Chelsea dashed Liverpool's hopes of a domestic cup double after their Carling Cup triumph in February.
However, that would have only papered over the cracks of what has been a disappointed league season.
At the start of the campaign there were hopes within Anfield they could make a challenge for Champions League qualification but those dreams were ended by a woeful run in 2012 which has seen the team lose 10 times and pick up only 15 points from a possible 51.
But Gerrard insists, with the addition of some new players in the summer, they will bounce back.
"I don't think my opinion has changed on how the season has gone," said the captain.
"We've been superb in the cup competitions - to get to two finals you have to give the players a lot of credit - but the league form has not been good enough.
"I said that before the game and I still feel the same.
"We've been two different teams this season, we haven't been good enough in the league and we have done exceptionally well in the cups, we just couldn't get over that final hurdle in the FA Cup, which is disappointing.
"I think we need to find a better level of consistency in the league.
"The level of performances have not been good enough, simple as that.
"There are no excuses, us as players have to take responsibility for a poor league showing because the players we have in that dressing room are certainly not eighth-best in the Premier League.
"But we are Liverpool will bounce back. We will strengthen in the summer and we will come back and we will fight again - that is what the club does.
"All the way through my career it has been about highs and lows and Saturday was a big low but I'll be back, we'll be back - we are Liverpool."