Carroll finally singing in tune

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It's taken just over a year, but against Brighton & Hove Albion, Andy Carroll finally stood up.

Having lived in the shadow of Luis Suarez since the pair's respective January transfer window moves last winter, Carroll had yet to get off the ground at Anfield.

His stunning double against Manchester City worked just as a glimmer of what we'd seen during his Newcastle United career, and until his ruthless showing against Brighton, he's failed to hit those heights again.

But against the Championship promotion hopefuls, Carroll ran riot. In the Premier League, Liverpool had failed to mix using Carroll's physical strength and playing their natural passing game to decent effect, with wins rarely including a crucial intervention from the 23-year-old, and a loss of points pointing towards his shortcomings.

At Anfield, Carroll was allowed to bully Liverpool into the quarter-finals. Unmatched in the air by Adam El-Abd, Gordon Greer or Lewis Dunk, while his movement pulled the Albion rearguard constantly out of position.

His goal typified his afternoon's work. After dropping the ball into Steven Gerrard's path, he span in behind, waiting for Stewart Downing to gain a crossing position, before his superior movement helped him escaped Dunk as he smashed home.

It was the first example, in the red of Liverpool, of Carroll possessing the attributes of the all-round forward he can become. Previously he's looked lethargic, but against Brighton there appeared no stopping him.

His clever header to set up Luis Suarez capped off a marvellous 90 minutes for the England international, whose form will have to continue if he's make Stuart Pearce's squad for the friendly with Holland, let along Euro 2012.

The question is, can that form continue? Skeptics will note it has taken a match-up against a Gus Poyet's newly promoted Brighton to yield his finest Liverpool showing.

But if confidence is the factor with Fernando Torres, another suffering from stage fright following a January move, then why shouldn't Carroll be boosted by his recent showing, regardless of the opposition?

Either way, Liverpool fans will be hoping Carroll's career can take flight after destroying the Seagulls.

Premier League

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