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Cup Final victory at Wembley will earn Kenny Dalglish the right to fight another day

LIVERPOOL entered three competitions at the start of the season and in three weeks' time they could be celebrating winning two of them.

The Carling Cup is already in the bag and Saturday's FA Cup semi-final victory - made all the sweeter coming against rivals Everton - has put one of England's greatest clubs within touching distance of yet more silverware.

On the face of that, it seems incongruous that Liverpool last week dispensed with the services of their director of football and the position of their manager remains under heavy scrutiny.

But the truth is the cup successes are painting over cracks that have been all too evident in an abysmal Premier League campaign.

There is no way, if Liverpool go on to win again at Wembley next month, that history will record this season as a failure.

Yet, after the departure of Damien Comolli and with a new director of football likely to be appointed, this summer will be a crucial one for manager Kenny Dalglish.

The Kop legend has spent an estimated £110million on new players since returning to the post last year, and even though the net outlay has been less than half of that, he will have to recruit better in future to safeguard his position.

The expensive likes of Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam have not delivered regularly and Dalglish needs them - and his next signings - to perform next term.

But while Dalglish may have tested the patience of supporters who understandably hold him in the highest regard at times this term, his crown remains intact.

A number of his interviews have also made for painful viewing and his handling of the Luis Suarez saga was damaging and embarrassing, but ultimately he will be judged by the success of his team.

In that respect, the Scot clearly still has a lot of work to do but, putting the past aside, he deserves longer to get it right based on all he has done in the last 15 months alone.

Consistency may have been lacking but he took over at a difficult time at Anfield, restored unity and has proved he can still dig out results on the big occasions.

Had league form rubbed off on one or two cup results, the picture would be looking a lot bleaker.

But Dalglish has huge goodwill behind him and while some may feel the cup results give him the perfect opportunity to walk away with head held high, they also buy him time.

He should be allowed to continue if he wants to but, as the hard-nosed owners have proved by dispensing with Comolli, sentiment may only go so far.