Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Carling Cup not end of Liverpool's season, says Dalglish

Liverpool's Carling Cup triumph must be consigned to the trophy cabinet as the players prepare to "sacrifice" themselves for the club again, manager Kenny Dalglish said.

A first piece of silverware in six years was secured at Wembley after a physically draining Carling Cup penalty shoot-out win over Cardiff.

But the players barely had chance to celebrate as they raced off to join their international teams for the various midweek friendlies taking place around the world.

And when they returned to the club's Melwood training ground yesterday it was made clear to the squad the time for enjoying that victory had passed.

With fourth-placed Arsenal visiting Anfield tomorrow Dalglish wants his players switched on and fully focused on a match which could have a significant bearing on their aspirations for Champions League qualification.

"What happened last Sunday I think they fully deserved it - on the day and in their performances in the competition," said the Scot.

"The boys have been away for international matches but I am sure they have enjoyed the success they have had and they will put it behind them and get themselves focused for the match on Saturday, which will be really difficult.

"We don't want to sound as if they shouldn't have enjoyed themselves - I hope they have because we have - but we've had the enjoyment and now it is back to work.

"We know the hard work which was involved in getting to Wembley. The players were prepared to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the club and we just need more of that.

"We will now go for whatever we can in every game. It is nice to be in the Europa League but it is even nicer if we can progress and build on what we did last Sunday.

"I am sure it has whetted their appetite. Our season is not finished because we won the Carling Cup."

Questions were started to be asked of some of Dalglish's signings, particularly those who arrived in the summer, prior to the win in Cardiff.

Big-money signings like Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson had failed to live up to their price tags while even Charlie Adam, a £6.75million signing from Blackpool, was coming in for criticism.

Downing produced his best display in a red shirt at Wembley and Dalglish will hope winning something early in their Liverpool careers will give a boost to the summer signings.

"I think for everyone who has come in you don't realise how big and important and how difficult it is to change your circumstances," said the Reds boss.

"It is not only yourself but your family who have to settle down.

"But they have now contributed to the fantastic history this club has and they have a place in a lot of people's hearts that maybe wasn't there on the Saturday.

"They can feel very proud of what they have done and happy with what they have achieved and I am sure they will want to achieve more.

"They won't take it for granted that it is finished, they will keep working."

Arsenal arrive at Anfield after their own morale-boosting victory over north London rivals Tottenham.

Trailing 2-0 they bounced back to score five unanswered goals and Dalglish is under no illusions, despite the talk of Arsene Wenger's side not being the force they once were.

"They were fantastic - 2-0 down and then they got five goals in about 20 minutes, which is a fantastic turnaround," said Dalglish.

"They were going through a tough time after a heavy defeat in Milan (losing 4-0 to AC in the Champions League) and I think that took the wind out of their sails.

"But whether or not both clubs won last Sunday this was always going to be a difficult game.

"We know what we are up against, we know what we have got to do and we will compete as well as we can.

"We know they have quality but we're not so bad ourselves."

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