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Football | FA Cup

Andy Carroll, Leighton Baines © Gallo Images

Reds look to Cup to salvage season



They may have won the Carling Cup, but the suggestion is that if Liverpool don't also win the FA Cup this will have been a desperately disappointing season.

They face Everton in Saturday's semifinal with manager Kenny Dalglish facing criticism as Liverpool struggle to avoid a worst league finish since returning to the top flight in 1962.

He spent over £40 million on players last summer, but it is the crosstown rivals Everton who are the form team, with January signing Nikica Jelavic giving them a potency that has seen them score 12 goals in their last five games as they've gone on a run of four wins and a draw.

"Nikica has had a great impact for us," said assistant coach Steve Round. "He looks a top quality striker and when we did give him a breather it was good to see Denis Stracqualursi lead the line so well.

"Goals are coming from everywhere. Victor has got a couple in the last two, the likes of Leon Osman scoring more - we can get goals from other places.

"We are always a threat on set-plays; Marouane Fellaini is always likely to get one and I think Tim Cahill is ready to start scoring again and that is a very pleasing aspect."

Everton manager David Moyes has ramped up the heat before the game, suggesting Dalglish has been trying to pressure referees with his talk of a "conspiracy" against his club.

"A similar thing happened before the first derby this season, when we got a player (Jack Rodwell) sent off," he said. "I don't know what Liverpool's business is. We are not arguing with the referees at Everton.

"We've had bad decisions here and have had to take them on the chin. I've not made too big fuss of it."

Tottenham Hotspur face Chelsea in Sunday's semifinal, trying to end a slide that has seen them win only one of their last eight games in the league.

"There is not a crisis in any way," said defender Ledley King. "We have top players here. We lost against Norwich, but we have to move on and get up for another big game we have on Sunday."

Chelsea could be without defender Ahley Cole who has an ankle injury, while right-back Branislav Ivanovic could be suspended as he faces a violent conduct charge.

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