Friday 24 November 2017

Liverpool just as good at home -- Dalglish

Reds boss says stats don't tell full story, writes Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish does not believe the school of thought which suggests his side perform better away from home.

But the simple stats don't seem to back him up. On the road this season the Reds have picked up four wins, including important results against top-four rivals Arsenal and Chelsea. At Anfield, where they are expected to be stronger, they have registered only three wins, even if five draws means the points tally is slightly greater.

Liverpool's last away match ended in defeat at Fulham, their first in all competitions since mid-September. That result could easily have gone the other way, and while Dalglish was happy with that display he does not think it differed from performances at Anfield this season.

"Our away form has been really impressive," said the Reds boss, who takes his side to Aston Villa today looking to avenge the 1-0 defeat on the final day of last season in his 350th match in charge of Liverpool.

"We got beaten the last time away from home but the performance was good enough to have won it," said Dalglish. "We have picked up more wins away from home but it doesn't necessarily say we are playing any better. At home we are playing well but we are not getting the results the performances deserve.

"If you judge it on wins then, yes, away from home we have been better because we've got more, but I've not been disappointed with the performances at home. I think the only stat that isn't in our favour is probably in the 'goals for' column which has resulted in fewer points than the performances have deserved.

"We've got that in our own hands and we'll just continue to do what we've done and sooner or later we'll turn our chances into goals."

Although Liverpool returned to winning ways last weekend with victory over QPR, a familiar story unfolded at Anfield where the home side created the majority of chances but had to rely on Luis Suarez's header to secure all three points.

Dalglish has almost run out of expressions to decry their luck in front of goal or his sympathy for the players whom he feels deserve more for their efforts. But despite a paltry 18 goals from 15 Premier League matches he will not be altering their approach.

"We've not come up against a goalkeeper who hasn't been outstanding against us," said the Scot, referring to the heroics of the likes of Manchester United's David de Gea, Norwich's John Ruddy, Swansea's Michel Vorm and Manchester City's Joe Hart. "I think 16 [shots] against the woodwork makes a contribution as well. At the same time the responsibility is on us to create chances and then finish them.

"We will continue to make chances and we'll probably win a game scoring every chance that we make, so we'll look forward to that. Nothing has changed on the pitch; we've made tons of chances so we'll continue to do that. If someone stops us then they stop us but we will try to make as many chances as we possibly can."

Villa are seven points behind sixth-placed Liverpool and have lost two of their last six matches -- both against top-four sides Manchester United and Tottenham -- but won last week at bottom side Bolton.

"It's been difficult for Alex (McLeish) moving from Birmingham to Villa," said Dalglish. "But he seems to have got them going a little bit, just at a bad time for us. But we aren't doing bad either, so we'll be respectful and look forward to a difficult game."

In the build up to the game, McLeish has played down speculation skipper Stiliyan Petrov is available to leave Villa Park next month.

"I've not said that. When I came in I looked at Villa's midfield and Stiliyan was the only experienced one in there," he said. "I genuinely felt we would need his experience this season. I know he has modified his game and has had to learn to do that since moving here from Celtic. But he always had a great strike on him."

Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor will serve a one-game ban for incurring five bookings, leaving Emile Heskey or Nathan Delfouneso to partner Darren Bent this afternoon.

Aston Villa v Liverpool,

Sky Sports 1, 2.05

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