Carroll celebrates notching his first Liverpool goal since moving from Newcastle
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Anfield
Andy Carroll's first goals since his £35m move to Liverpool put a dent in Manchester City's Champions League hopes as they were emphatically swept aside at Anfield.
Carroll struck twice - the first a spectacular long-range strike - as Liverpool established a deserved three-goal lead by the interval and kept their own European ambitions alive with a vibrant display.
Dirk Kuyt sandwiched a goal in between Carroll's double as City endured a night of total misery, with captain Carlos Tevez limping off early on with a hamstring strain that puts a serious question mark over his participation in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Wembley.
Mario Balotelli replaced Tevez but his contribution was so negligible that he suffered the indignity of being substituted himself as time ran out, a development that encapsulated a wretched 90 minutes for City and boss Roberto Mancini.
Players were fantastic - Dalglish
Carroll has been edging slowly towards full fitness after his expensive arrival from Newcastle United and his partnership with £23m Luis Suarez showed rich promise as Liverpool controlled affairs from start to finish.
Mancini's side remain in fourth place but an opportunity to press home an advantage over closest rivals Tottenham was squandered with a lamentable display.
Liverpool's performance - despite a defensive injury crisis that saw a promising debut for teenage academy graduate John Flanagan - was a resounding advert for Kenny Dalglish to be given the manager's job on a permanent basis.
And The Kop made their feelings clear on the matter throughout as they sang their support for the Anfield icon, who they want to take Liverpool on to the next stage of their recovery from the ill-fated Roy Hodgson era.
City, in contrast, were listless and portrayed all the signs of a side with their sights on the meeting with archrivals United at Wembley - mystifying giving the stakes still on offer in the Premier League.
The difference between the sides was illustrated by the threat posed by the opposing strike partnerships. Carroll and Suarez were danger personified while Edin Dzeko and Balotelli never laid a glove on Liverpool's defence.
Mancini must now marshall his forces before Saturday, with the bitterest blow of all from a night of despair being the injury to talisman Tevez, the inspiration behind much of their progress this season.
City kept David Silva and Nigel de Jong on the bench ahead of Saturday's Wembley date - and the pair may well have been relieved to have kept their distance from the wreckage of that first-half display.
Liverpool were seriously weakened by injuries, with captain Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger out for the season and Glen Johnson also missing, but it did not stop them running riot against laboured City.
The dangerous Suarez delivered an early sign of the carnage to come when he outstripped City's defence but keeper Joe Hart got a faint and vital touch to turn his shot on to the post.
Mancini admits 'making mistakes'
City were barely hanging on as Liverpool's pace and movement proved too much and the breakthrough came in spectacular fashion after 13 minutes. Carroll was lurking 25 yards out and when Vincent Kompany deflected the ball into his path he thrashed a low left-foot finish past the startled Hart.
And moments later matters took a desperate turn for the worse for City when Tevez pulled away from a challenge with Carroll, the Argentine clutching his hamstring, removing his captain's armband instantly before disappearing disconsolately down the tunnel.
The enigmatic Balotelli entered the fray but he was little more than a bystander as Liverpool emphasised their superiority by adding two more goals inside a minute as City collapsed. Kuyt scored the second 11 minutes before the interval with a perfect side-foot finish past Hart, then Carroll rose with Aleksdander Kolarov to glance in Raul Meireles' angled delivery.
The second half was little more than a procession as Liverpool closed out victory, although City's black mood was reflected in the unhappy reaction of James Milner when he was substituted for Silva.
Liverpool were the side looking more likely to add another goal and Hart needed to be alert to plunge low to save from Meireles as he drove in a low shot from 12 yards.
Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina was effectively unemployed until the 82nd minute when he punched away a powerful drive from Yaya Toure.
Balotelli's lifeless effort, although in his defence he was hardly alone and certainly no worse than the bitterly disappointing Dzeko, came to a conclusion when he was replaced by Nigel de Jong.
The pattern had long since been set though and Carroll only just missed out on a hat-trick when his header dropped on to the top of the net with Hart scrambling.
90:00+2:12 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90:00+0:41 Substitution David Ngog joins the action as a substitute, replacing Andrew Carroll.
90:00+0:36 John Flanagan sends in a cross.
88:20 Unfair challenge on Edin Dzeko by John Flanagan results in a free kick. David Silva restarts play with the free kick.
87:48 Close range header by Andrew Carroll goes over the crossbar.
85:56 Unfair challenge on David Silva by Luis Suarez results in a free kick. Nigel De Jong takes the direct free kick.
84:01 David Silva gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Raul Meireles. Direct free kick taken by Fabio Aurelio.
82:33 Corner taken right-footed by Adam Johnson.
82:33 Substitution Nigel De Jong on for Mario Balotelli.
82:09 Gnegneri Toure Yaya takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
81:19 Raul Meireles takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.
78:59 Effort on goal by Dirk Kuyt from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.
77:35 Unfair challenge on Dirk Kuyt by Gnegneri Toure Yaya results in a free kick. Raul Meireles takes the free kick.
75:51 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Fabio Aurelio from the right by-line, Edin Dzeko makes a clearance.
75:09 Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Comfortable save by Jose Reina.
74:00 Gnegneri Toure Yaya produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that goes wide left of the target.
72:16 The official flags Luis Suarez offside. Free kick taken by Joleon Lescott.
70:17 Leiva Lucas produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the target.
69:10 Shot from outside the box by David Silva misses to the left of the target.
68:22 Luis Suarez has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the goal.
67:33 Effort from outside the penalty box by Mario Balotelli goes wide right of the target.
64:14 Raul Meireles delivers the ball, save by Joe Hart.
63:12 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Raul Meireles from the right by-line.
58:17 The offside flag is raised against Raul Meireles. Joe Hart takes the indirect free kick.
58:17 Substitution (Man City) makes a substitution, with David Silva coming on for James Milner.
57:20 Dirk Kuyt sends in a cross, Gareth Barry makes a clearance.
55:25 The official flags Raul Meireles offside. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.
53:22 Luis Suarez is ruled offside. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
52:35 Effort from just outside the area by Jay Spearing goes over the target.
51:58 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Raul Meireles from the right by-line, Aleksandar Kolarov makes a clearance.
50:17 Corner taken right-footed by Raul Meireles to the near post, Dirk Kuyt produces a headed effort from deep inside the six-yard
box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
49:10 Andrew Carroll takes a shot. Blocked by Dedryk Boyata.
45:01 The second half begins.
45:00+2:03 The ref blows to signal half-time.
45:00+1:20 Mario Balotelli takes a shot and went wide right of the goal.
45:00+0:57 Luis Suarez concedes a free kick for a foul on Dedryk Boyata. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
43:30 Leiva Lucas challenges Mario Balotelli unfairly and gives away a free kick. Aleksandar Kolarov sends in a cross, Headed effort
from deep inside the area by Joleon Lescott misses to the right of the target.
43:17 The ball is crossed by Dedryk Boyata, John Flanagan makes a clearance.
41:32 A cross is delivered by Adam Johnson, clearance by Jay Spearing.
40:15 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Aleksandar Kolarov by Dirk Kuyt. Gareth Barry takes the free kick.
34:37 The assist for the goal came from Raul Meireles.
34:37 GOAL - Andrew Carroll:Liverpool 3 - 0 Man City Andrew Carroll grabs a headed goal from inside the box. Liverpool 3-0 Man City.
34:06 Edin Dzeko takes a shot. Jose Reina makes a save.
33:04 Fabio Aurelio takes a shot. Vincent Kompany gets a block in. Fabio Aurelio provided the assist for the goal.
33:04 GOAL - Dirk Kuyt:Liverpool 2 - 0 Man City Dirk Kuyt scores a goal from just outside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Liverpool 2-0 Man City.
32:57 Raul Meireles sends in a cross, Vincent Kompany manages to make a clearance.
31:41 Aleksandar Kolarov has a shot and went wide right of the net.
28:07 Shot from long range by Edin Dzeko goes wide of the left-hand upright.
27:45 Corner taken by Aleksandar Kolarov, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.
26:29 Fabio Aurelio challenges Adam Johnson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mario Balotelli produces a shot on goal direct
from the free kick.
26:29 Booking Fabio Aurelio goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.
25:58 Aleksandar Kolarov delivers the ball, clearance by Jamie Carragher.
24:28 The ball is sent over by James Milner, save made by Jose Reina.
21:25 Header from deep inside the penalty area by Mario Balotelli goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
20:05 The ball is sent over by Andrew Carroll, clearance made by Vincent Kompany.
18:15 Dirk Kuyt crosses the ball, Joleon Lescott manages to make a clearance.
15:15 Substitution Carlos Tevez leaves the field to be replaced by Mario Balotelli.
12:03 Assist on the goal came from Raul Meireles.
12:03 GOAL - Andrew Carroll:Liverpool 1 - 0 Man City A goal is scored by Andrew Carroll from outside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Liverpool 1-0 Man City.
11:05 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Fabio Aurelio played to the near post, Dedryk Boyata makes a clearance.
10:56 Centre by Fabio Aurelio, Vincent Kompany makes a clearance.
10:27 Corner taken left-footed by Fabio Aurelio from the left by-line, clearance made by Gnegneri Toure Yaya.
10:19 Luis Suarez delivers the ball, Gareth Barry manages to make a clearance.
8:30 Luis Suarez takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.
7:11 Close range headed effort by Dedryk Boyata clears the crossbar.
6:36 Luis Suarez takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a fantastic save.
5:33 Dirk Kuyt produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.
5:09 Dedryk Boyata gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Luis Suarez. Direct free kick taken by Fabio Aurelio.
4:52 Adam Johnson delivers the ball, clearance made by Martin Skrtel.
0:29 Luis Suarez sends in a cross, Vincent Kompany makes a clearance.
0:00 The game kicks-off.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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