Belfast Telegraph

Carroll sings right tune for Reds

Liverpool's third-choice goalkeeper Brad Jones found himself thrust into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons but Andy Carroll ensured he was not alone as the striker snatched a stoppage-time winner in a 3-2 victory at Blackburn.

Maxi Rodriguez struck twice to seemingly open up a comfortable lead at Ewood Park but Liverpool goalkeeper Doni, in for the suspended Jose Reina, was sent off for fouling Junior Hoilett in the box. Substitute goalkeeper Jones saved Ayegbeni Yakubu's penalty but the Nigerian pulled one back before half-time.

Jones, who now looks set to be the Reds' number one for the Wembley showdown with Everton, was less impressive in giving away a second-half penalty for fouling Yakubu, who this time converted from the spot to make it 2-2, only for Carroll to snatch it at the end.

Jones could not have imagined the night he was in for after Maxi's two goals put Liverpool in command after just 16 minutes.

Martin Skrtel's long ball from well inside his own penalty area reached Craig Bellamy on the right and he charged forward before delivering an inch-perfect cross for the Argentinian to convert with a trademark close-range finish.

Rodriguez struck again shortly afterwards, being in the right place at the right time to smash in a first-time volley with his weaker left foot after Carroll's shot was blocked.

But Doni was sent off midway through the first half, meaning Jones had to make his Premier League debut just four days before the club's FA Cup semi-final against Everton. Jon Flanagan, who had already been booked for fouling Marcus Olsson, left a backpass hopelessly short and Hoilett seized on it only to be brought down by Doni, who saw red.

Jones replaced Flanagan and saved Yakubu's weak penalty but was beaten 11 minutes into his Premier League debut when the unmarked Nigerian headed in David Dunn's free-kick.

Jones then smashed Skrtel's backpass straight at Yakubu and palmed away the looping ball instead of catching it and in attempting to recover he brought down the striker. Referee Anthony Taylor was lenient in showing a yellow card but Yakubu drilled his spot-kick straight down the middle.

Liverpool stole all three points as substitute Daniel Agger flicked on a cross and Carroll powered a header past Paul Robinson to keep Rovers in the bottom three.


From Belfast Telegraph