Belfast Telegraph

Dalglish: Semi may distract City

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish thinks Manchester City's forthcoming FA Cup semi-final may prove enough of a distraction for his side to take advantage on Monday.

City are just two wins away from their first major trophy in 35 years and Dalglish believes that will be playing on the minds of the visitors when they go to Anfield just five days before their date at Wembley with rivals Manchester United.

"It will be a difficult test," he said. "Manchester City are going for a Champions League spot and in a week's time they have an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United. I am sure they will have half an eye on the cup tie because it is a massive game for them."

Dalglish added: "It will be a great opportunity for them to get some silverware if they get past United, especially as their task for that game has been made easier because Wayne Rooney won't be available.

"I am sure the Champions League spot is important but I'm sure a trophy is more important to them. If they can get that they would view this season as being successful.

"When you see a trophy at the end of it sometimes your concentration wanes a bit. Any help we can get if that happens will be beneficial to us and we hope that can be the case."

This season City have developed into the team they have threatened to be ever since cash-rich Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Mansour took over the club and invested heavily in player recruitment. For the current campaign alone City shelled out almost £140million on acquisitions, recouping only something in the region of £11million on player sales.

By contrast over recent seasons Liverpool have had a restrictive transfer budget as previous owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett sought to manage crippling interest payments which rose to £40million a year. The £23million spent on six players in the summer was funded by the sales of Javier Mascherano to Barcelona and Yossi Benayoun to Chelsea.

Even the club record transfers of first Luis Suarez (£22.8million) and Andy Carroll (£35million) in January were offset almost entirely by offloading Fernando Torres to Chelsea for £50million and Ryan Babel to Hoffenheim for £6million.

"City have a lot of people who dislike them because of envy," he said. "But there is not one football supporter who wouldn't enjoy their club having just a fraction of the money they (City) get to spend on players. They were, for a while, many supporters' second club as they have always been a bit of a romantic club."


From Belfast Telegraph