Dalglish happy with Liverpool recovery
Published 08/04/2011 | 05:00
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish believes his squad's achievement in keeping European qualification alive should not be underestimated.
The Scot took over the Anfield reins from West Brom boss Roy Hodgson in early January, with the club lingering in mid table -- having slumped as low as 19th.
And he has succeed in not only arresting the slide but putting together a run which has lifted them up to sixth place, five points behind Tottenham. Club owner John Henry admitted this week he was surprised by the lack of depth in the squad when his Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool last October.
Dalglish hardly had a chance to change that in the January transfer window, losing two players in Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel and replacing them with Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.
Those alterations were seen as the start of a new beginning at Anfield -- although Carroll was unavailable for over a month with a thigh problem -- and Dalglish was keen to praise the players' efforts in the meantime.
"I still don't think sixth place is the position we actually want to be in," said the 60-year-old. "But credit to the players because we have made only two new signings. The lads that have got us to where we are deserve great credit for their efforts.
"I don't think they could have done much more. I think they've done more than could have been expected from them.
"We've won some games maybe people thought we couldn't win and we've lost other games we thought we should win but at the end of the day, as we keep saying, we will add up the points at the end of the season and see where we are.
"If we were to finish sixth it would be an achievement for the players that they have got that far in such a short space of time. We just need to keep going and see what happens.
"The Tottenham game is our second-to-last match of the season but we are only looking as far ahead as Manchester City (on Monday), because, as we've always said, the next game is the most important one and that's all we can concentrate on.
"Whatever happens between now and when we play Aston Villa, which is our last game, will dictate whether we are closer to Tottenham or further away.
"We will just put all our energy towards getting a result against Manchester City first."
Dalglish has been fortunate in that both his new signings have settled well, even taking into account the fact Carroll is still not fully fit.
Suarez already has two goals to his credit but his fellow new arrival is still awaiting his maiden strike, having broken his England duck in only his second game in last week's friendly against Ghana.
The 22-year-old is desperate to start paying back the supporters who have given him such a warm welcome and feels it is only a matter of time before he is on the scoresheet for his new club.
"I feel I am getting towards full fitness," said Liverpool's £35m record signing. "I am working hard on it and I am in the gym most days doing extra work.
"It was just a great feeling to score a goal again (for England) after a long injury. But a goal for Liverpool is what I am waiting for. It's going to be great because the fans have given me a brilliant reception without scoring a goal, and now I can't wait to get a goal and make everyone happy."
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