Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Dalglish unhappy with decisions

Kenny Dalglish

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish chose not to publicly criticise referee Howard Webb after his side's 2-0 defeat to Tottenham at Anfield but claimed officials "get away scot-free" by not having to explain their decisions.

Luka Modric's controversial penalty put paid to the Reds' chances of a comeback in the second half after Rafael van der Vaart had given Spurs an early lead. Defender John Flanagan tangled with Steven Pienaar and Webb pointed to the spot despite the challenge appearing to be outside the area and seemingly in the teenage full-back's favour.

"I'm not here to sponsor the FA," said the Scot, clearly unhappy at the official's handling of the game. "It is unhelpful to everyone that we cannot express our true thoughts and it is even more disappointing that the officials get away scot-free without having to come in and explain their decisions. I think it is safer for me to leave it at that."

He added: "We cannot legislate for refereeing mistakes but we could have been a greater help to ourselves if we had started the game better."

Victory gave Spurs the advantage in the race for the final Europa League place as they now have a point advantage over the Reds with a match remaining.

"They started better than we did and scored a goal and we didn't start to play for 25 minutes," Dalglish said. "We started to look a bit better and then at the start of the second half they got the second goal and that gave them a real foothold and we didn't have enough to break them down.

"I don't think Pepe Reina was over-busy either but we never played as well as we can play. That is a disappointment for the players because it would have been a fitting way to finish the season at Anfield - maybe it was too much of a fairytale. We feel we have short-changed the fans by not getting the result."

Dalglish's first home defeat since returning in January put Spurs in pole position to secure European football next season. Tottenham have missed out on the Champions League, having done so well in the competition this season, but Harry Redknapp will take Europa League qualification.

"It was a big win for us. We had to win to try to finish above Liverpool and we have given ourselves a chance," he said. "We now have a tough game against Birmingham. We are not fighting for the Europa League, we are fighting to finish fifth. You want to win every game and finish as high as you can, that is your pride.

"It is not ideal playing Thursday and every Sunday (in the Europa League) is not what you want but we are there [at the moment]. That is better than [qualifying via] the Fair Play League because you start three weeks earlier. I scared them before the game by saying if we don't win we are top of the Fair Play League - they thought I was joking.

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