Belfast Telegraph

Dalglish: Cup success marginalised

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish believes an "obsession" with the Barclays Premier League appears to be reducing the value of winning cup competitions.

The Reds head into Saturday's FA Cup final against Chelsea looking for their second piece of silverware this season having already lifted the Carling Cup. However, Liverpool's league form has been wildly inconsistent in the current campaign and a fourth home defeat to Fulham on Tuesday night means they have now dropped 30 points at Anfield and sit in eighth place.

Dalglish believes Liverpool's league form should not take away from their progress in knockout competitions, and said: "There is an obsession with the Premier League simply because of what it holds for every club and the value financially for every club, the rewards you get for finishing in the top four and getting in the Champions League."

He added: "But there is a satisfaction from winning a cup competition which you don't get from finishing fifth or sixth in the league.

"We have already tasted a cup final this year, albeit the Carling Cup, and getting to the FA Cup final should never be under-estimated in any way. It is a fantastic day out for everyone and is great reward for the efforts and commitment of the players and the respect we have paid to the competition. We think we deserve to be there and we are happy to be there."

Captain Steven Gerrard has spoken a number of times in the past of having to address their league form and he and veteran defender Jamie Carragher both reiterated that stance. However, both insisted winning two trophies in a season should be regarded as an achievement.

"It is a successful season. This club is all about winning big trophies and the FA Cup certainly comes under that," said Gerrard. "We will assess the season after the weekend. If we can look back and say we have won two cups we will be happy. But of course we still have to address the problem of our league position."

Carragher insisted putting silverware back in the cabinet at Anfield was important for the club's standing and for the players' confidence.

"We had gone five or six years before this season without a trophy and in that time we have had some great nights but at the end of your career you want trophies to look back on as well," said the 34-year-old. "We have one this season and if we get two, having been in three competitions, that will be a great season."

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