Belfast Telegraph

No festive worry for Dalglish

A packed festive programme holds no worries for Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish as he seeks to balance Barclays Premier League and cup commitments.

The traditional run of fixtures in quick succession around the turn of the year means the Reds face eight matches in 28 days. That tally includes four in 11 days in early January because of cup games, including the two-legged Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

Ahead of Sunday's trip to Aston Villa, Dalglish said: "Everything is monitored any way so you've got a good idea of how the players are. We'll get the first game done and then we'll worry about the one after it."

He added: "The games do come thick and fast now and we've just got to deal with it but you do take into consideration the workload. We know what fixtures we've got coming up but there is not a great of thought that goes into the one beyond the Aston Villa game. We know the fixture list.

"I think the greatest influence on the team against Aston Villa will be who we're playing against - not the game that's coming after that at Wigan. First things first."

Managing the squad, certainly in central midfield, has become less of an option in recent weeks as a season-ending injury to Lucas Leiva, ongoing fitness problems with captain Steven Gerrard and suspension to Jay Spearing have left Liverpool light in that area.

Dalglish recalled Jonjo Shelvey from his loan spell at npower Championship side Blackpool in order to provide cover but speculation has already begun about potential targets for next month, but Dalglish refused to even talk about transfers.

"We don't speculate on anybody - either our own players or somebody else's players," he added.

"It doesn't matter what we say, there is going to be speculation in the newspapers - but we won't be here to answer every question that's in newspapers.

"We'll do our business the way we've been brought up to do our business and that's privately behind closed doors. We have the option to add if we want to, but we also have another option that we don't have to."

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