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Carroll happy with Pool progress

Updated: Tuesday, 21 Feb 2012 13:20

Andy Carroll has been slowly improving up front for Liverpool
Andy Carroll has been slowly improving up front for Liverpool

A more confident Andy Carroll feels his Liverpool career is starting to take off 12 months after arriving at Anfield.

Since becoming the most expensive British player when he moved from Newcastle in a £35million deal on transfer deadline day of January last year the striker has not enjoyed the best of times.

His debut was delayed by a thigh injury sustained prior to his switch and he never regained full fitness before further problems ended his season a few games early.

The 23-year-old returned in better shape after a full pre-season but circumstances beyond his control, namely another untimely injury to captain Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez's eight-match ban, meant his chances of playing in a properly full-strength team were restricted.

Sunday's 6-1 FA Cup win over npower Championship visitors Brighton - in which Carroll scored the decisive goal to make it 3-1 in the second half - was in fact the first time he, Gerrard and Suarez had started a game together.

He got his captain's man-of-the-match nomination but there had been signs over the last month that Carroll was starting to look like he could deliver on the expectations his hefty transfer fee produced.

And the striker is feeling much better about himself after two goals in four matches, and three since the turn of the year which has doubled his tally to six for the season.

"I feel like I am doing well. I have just started scoring goals and I am doing well in games. I think it has all come together," said the England international.

Asked whether this was now the best he had felt since moving to Merseyside he added: "Without a doubt and I think it shows in my performances.

"(I'm) getting around the pitch a bit more, getting involved. I am happy, more confident and things are going all right.

"The whole team played well (against Brighton) and I was delighted to get a goal and obviously so for Luis (who also scored after missing a penalty) as well."

More championship opposition awaits next weekend in the form of Cardiff when Liverpool travel to Wembley for their first final in five years.

The team could not have had better preparation for the Carling Cup showpiece, having bounced back from a league defeat at arch-rivals Manchester United, and Carroll knows competition for places in the final will be fierce.

"It is a massive game and I think all the lads are looking forward to it. Hopefully we can get the win," he said.

"I have never been to a cup final. That is all I am looking forward to, getting there. It is a great feeling and hopefully we can win it.

"We have got a massive squad and everyone can play a part in it. We are such a good team that you could pick anyone.

"You have just got to work hard. The manager picks the team at the end of the day. If we can get the trophy it would be great."

Victory over Cardiff would guarantee a return to European competition after a year's absence but Liverpool are still holding out hopes of a top-four finish to get back into the Champions League.

"We have been playing well in the last couple of weeks and have been putting the performances in," added the striker.

"We have been lacking goals but we have shown there we can bang them in.

"It is nice to see those teams (Arsenal and Chelsea) struggle a bit and obviously us putting performances like that together, it is great."

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