It is not often that you hear Kenny Dalglish criticising his own players. In fact, since he returned to his post as manager last year, Dalglish has constantly backed his expensive stars, even after some dismal draws and damning defeats. Last week, the Scot even told the Press that he believed Stewart Downing was a better player than he initially thought. However, this continuous backing for his under-performing team came to a halt following the Reds’ shambolic performance at Bolton Wanderers.
Speaking about his players, Dalglish said: “If they think they can turn the clock on and off, they will not be turning it on and off at this club.” He added: “If it is a one-off, fine, but if it is going to be repeated then there will not be too many repeating their appearances in a red shirt because we won’t stand for that.
“Respect is a huge part of being a successful club and if they do not have that respect for other teams and, most importantly, this club, they are in a bit of trouble.”
It will be extremely interesting to see how the Liverpool players respond to that public dressing down. The Merseysiders head into the second-leg of their Carling Cup semi-final against league leaders Manchester City on Wednesday, with only a single goal – in favour of the Reds – currently separating the two sides. A repeat of the performance at the Reebok Stadium would almost certainly see the Anfield outfit carved to pieces by Roberto Mancini’s men, therefore Dalglish will need a disciplined display from his team if Liverpool are to progress to Wembley.
With the Scot so angry at his players after the Bolton clash, it will be interesting to see whether he decides to splash the cash in this transfer window as deadline day looms. Dalglish had previously said that he expected a quiet window, but with Andy Carroll failing to find the net regularly and also a lack of service for him from midfield, the Liverpool boss may well decide to sign an attacking player in order to freshen the squad up and bring renewed hope to the fans. After all, the supporters expect a top-four finish come the end of the season and as things stand, Liverpool are six points away from being in that position.
Next up for the Reds is the crunch League Cup clash against City, before what promises to be a tasty encounter against rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup. This week could make or break Liverpool’s aspirations of winning a trophy for the first time in more than five years. The pressure is on.
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