Belfast Telegraph

Dalglish: Learn from QPR loss

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish admits his side have to learn from their collapse at QPR in midweek which saw them throw away victory.

The Reds uncharacteristically fell apart defensively having led 2-0 and conceded as many goals in the final 13 minutes as they had done in their previous three Barclays Premier League matches. Defeat at Loftus Road was the Reds' ninth of the season and distant hopes of making a late run for Champions League qualification have all-but been extinguished.

"We need to find the answers and make sure that we go on and we learn from it," said the Scot.

He added: "We were so constructive for so many parts of that game. We've conceded from a set-play, a cross and a mistake right at the death. I don't think anyone in their right mind would say we deserved that. We don't have an explanation for it but we can only do what we have done right."

Since the turn of the year Dalglish's side have lost six of 10 league games, winning just two, and have suffered four defeats in their last five. That is in contrast to their form in knockout competitions, which has already seen them lift the Carling Cup and progress to the semi-finals of the FA Cup next month.

With Europa League qualification already assured as a result of their Wembley triumph, some critics have suggested the players may be subconsciously focusing on lifting further silverware than trying to unrealistically close a gap which is now 12 points to fourth place.

Dalglish rejected those claims and pointed to the team's performance right up to QPR scoring the first of their three goals as evidence to the contrary.

Nine of the team who started Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final win were in the XI at Loftus Road - although Martin Kelly was forced off with a problem 10 minutes before half-time - and the Reds boss felt they had maintained their standards for the majority of the game.

"Maybe a lot of people would have thought after winning against Stoke and getting into the semi-final it would have affected the way the boys approached the game but to their credit it never did," Dalglish told BBC Sport.

Both Kelly, who sustained a knock on Sunday against Stoke, and midfielder Charlie Adam (knee) are doubts for Saturday's visit of struggling Wigan after coming off at Loftus Road. Defenders Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger are still short of fitness while forward Craig Bellamy has missed the last three matches.

From Belfast Telegraph