Kenny Dalglish: Liverpool can’t get distracted by race for fourth

Kenny Dalglish insists talk of an "exciting" race for fourth place is irrelevant and urged his squad to stay focused on winning games

kenny dalglish
Liverpool are seven points behind fourth-placed Arsenal in the Premier League PA Photos

kenny dalglish

Kenny Dalglish insists Liverpool’s focus should be on beating Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday – not the race for a fourth-place finish.

The Reds, fresh from their Carling Cup win at Wembley, are in seventh place and seven points behind the Gunners, who currently occupy the final Champions League spot.

But Dalglish wants his side to remain focused on winning games and not get distracted by their rivals’ fortunes.

“We’ll just plod on,” Dalglish told a news conference on Thursday. “We’ll add the points up and see where we get to. I’ve not looked at the points – I know we’ve got Arsenal Saturday and that’s all we’ve got to do.

“It’s an important game for us, it’s an important game for Arsenal. They had a fantastic comeback last week at home to Tottenham, getting five goals in about 20 minutes. It’s going to be difficult for us, so we’ll make it difficult for them.

“I’m not worried about excitement [of the race for fourth] – I’m worried about moving the club forward. And we’ve got a really difficult game against Arsenal on Saturday and we’re going to go and play it and compete as best as we can.

“What happens will happen. But we’re going to be competing. We love to win games more than we enjoy losing them. So it’s the same incentive for us, now as it’s always has been.”

Dalglish returned for his second spell in charge at Liverpool in January 2011 and the 60-year-old has already made sweeping changes, bringing in the likes of Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Luis Suárez.

And the Reds boss is delighted that the efforts of his new-look squad have been rewarded with the club’s first piece of silverware since 2006 after their Carling Cup final victory over Cardiff City.

“It’s fantastic what the players have done,” he added. “It’s a new team and they’ve done it [won a trophy] in seven months with seven new players, and the older boys chipped in too.

“We said before the match, nearly everybody within the squad has made a contribution to the success and it was right they enjoyed it because they’ve all been there or thereabouts. That’s something that
helped us get the success.

“They’ve enjoyed it, they’ve been away with their national teams, and they’ll get back to work for the league on Saturday. Once you’ve enjoyed something, you want to go back to it.

“For us, we were absolutely delighted because I think they got the reward they deserved. Throughout the whole tournament they played really well, had some difficult games and put on some great performances.

“We’re happy for them and they know how they got there – with hard work, honesty and endeavour. If we want to go back again, we’re going to need to show the same resolve.”

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