Steven Gerrard described the criticism directed at Andy Carroll this season as 'nonsense' after the striker scored Liverpool's winning goal against Everton.
Carroll's performances have been closely scrutinised since he made the move to Anfield from Newcastle for £35million, but he has always been stoutly defended by manager Kenny Dalglish.
His team-mates have also continued to rally round him and Gerrard was delighted to see the 23-year-old find the target in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final.
Carroll headed home Craig Bellamy's free-kick in the 87th minute to seal victory and set up a final meeting with Tottenham or Chelsea.
"We are all happy for him. He is a good player and it just goes to show that all that is written about him is nonsense," said Gerrard.
"Andy's always in the spotlight because of how much we paid for him but I think on days like this one he shows his critics what he is all about.
"He doesn't hide and he takes criticism on the chin.
"We are pleased to have him, he has stepped up today, he has taken the criticism on the chin and he has responded very well and is the hero getting us the winner.
"That's what we bought him for, to score big goals, and he's delivered."
Gerrard added: "We were superb in the second half. We showed superb character.
"It's superb to be in the final. It's great to deliver and one more step and we're there."
Gerrard also dedicated the victory to the families of the 96 fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster, the 23rd anniversary of which is on Sunday.
"We've got to dedicate this win to all of the families connected with Hillsborough," the England international told Liverpool's official website.
"All of the players and the staff will be at Anfield tomorrow to pay our respects at the service, and it's so nice to be able to dedicate a win to those people."