KEIR RADNEDGE at Wembley: Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish hailed Liverpool’s team ethic after their 2-1 FA Cup semi-final victory over derby rivals Everton at Wembley.
Acknowledging the will to win which had carried them to another cup final after the League Cup win, he said: “If you don’t enjoy winning you might as well put the lid on the box.”
Liverpool veteran Jamie Carragher, leaving the pitch, had hailed Andy Carroll’s winning goal as being “worth every penny of the 35 million” but Dalglish refused to single out individuals.
Earlier Nikica Jelavic had shot Everton ahead, after a Carragher mistake in the first half, and Luis Suarez had punished a blunder by Everton’s Sylvain Distin to equalise.
Hence Dalglish, evoking his team’s unquenchable spirit, said: “The players that were out there and everyone who has contributed to getting us here have been fantastic for the football club. Their attitude and application and intent in getting a positive result was there for everybody to see.
“Whether it was deserved or not everyone will have their opinion but everything you need to do to win a football game we did. We started well, Everton scored, then we came back into it. For the second half it was just a question of pointing the players in the right direction.
“They’ve got this far and now they want to get that step further. As a group of players and as a football club it was fantastic. That’s one cup final we’ve won and another to look forward to. That gives everyone who supports Liverpool a lift . . . and is a testament to everyone’s character at this football club.
“They held their resolve and responded during a difficult time in the club’s history. Now is a time to enjoy the moment, be respectful to Everton then get back to work and concentrate on the league games and cup final coming up.”
Everton manager David Moyes conceded that the disappointment of losing a semi-final was exacerbated by his belief that his team had been form favourites coming into the game.
He said: “We played well in the first half and I thought we’d weathred the 10 or 15 minutes after the interval when we expected them to come back at us. But then we made a mistake and it gave Liverpool a little more impetus.
“Sylvain Distin is really diown. He’s been here before, won the Cup with Portsmouth, so he knows what it means and how important it is. He’s been great for us but it just took one moment today when it looked as if we were frustrating them; in fact, I always fancied us to nick a second goal.”
Moyes acknowledged little to choose between the teams and thus “it was mistakes which changed the game.”
Everton’s manager waited at the tunnel at the end to shake hands with all his dejected players as they left the Wembley pitch.
He said: “We were so desperate to get to the final for the supporters. We felt we were in good shape to be in the final and when it goes wrong like that I feel for them all. It was a great chance playing in another final and the players should take a lot of pride in that because the game was very tight.
“Liverpool improved in the second half but we were in a mindset where we I felt we could see it out . . .”
= = = =