Carroll king of the Kop as Reds run riot

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Liverpool were as good as Manchester City were appalling last night.

The hosts were inspired by Andy Carroll, who scored twice, either side of a Dirk Kuyt strike on an evening which provided another stirring reminder of how Liverpool have been revived by Kenny Dalglish.

As well as further evidence of the potency of the Carroll-Luis Suarez axis, Anfield revelled in the fine displays from two of their youngsters, Jay Spearing and particularly the debut-making John Flanagan.

The contrast with City was marked. From back to front, the poverty of City’s display was bemusing, their lack of midfield bite alarming, and questions will inevitably be raised over why Roberto Mancini rested Nigel de Jong.

City have the FA Cup date with United on Saturday but qualification for the Champions League remains their No 1 priority. City could have gone into third, leapfrogging Chelsea, last night; instead City have allowed Tottenham to stay within range, only three points behind with a game in hand.

Mancini can argue that he didn’t want to risk injury before Wembley. But the noisy neighbours look to have lost their big noise in Carlos Tevez, who appeared to tear his right hamstring.

Even before Carroll’s terrific finish, a strike that carried echoes of his goal for England against Ghana, the attacking intent of both teams had quickly been evident. City were first out of the blocks, Adam Johnson running at Fabio Aurelio, dribbling past the Brazilian left-back but nudging the ball just out in front of a relieved Kop. More >>