Dalglish wants Reds response in crucial week
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Kenny Dalglish is demanding an immediate response from his Liverpool players ahead of a critical week in which they face two huge cup ties which could shape their season.

Having fallen six points behind fourth place in the table - and a UEFA Champions League qualifying spot - after a surprise 3-1 defeat at struggling Bolton last weekend, Dalglish's side entertain bitter rivals Manchester United on Saturday.

The FA Cup fourth round tie will be the first time the two clubs have met since Luis Suarez was hit with an eight-match ban for racially abusing United's French defender Patrice Evra in a league match on 15 October.

But before then Liverpool take a slender 1-0 lead into the deciding leg of the League Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Anfield on Wednesday.

Having gone six years without winning major silverware, Dalglish knows Liverpool cannot afford to mess up against the Premier League leaders, particularly after their season hit a new low with the defeat to Bolton.

The Liverpool manager believes the forthcoming cup ties could have been on the minds of some of his players last Saturday, but Dalglish has made it clear he will not tolerate any more sub-standard performances from his players.

"All season we've been very complimentary about the way the boys have gone about their work, but I don't think you could say that on Saturday," said Dalglish. "Their approach to the game was poor.

"If you have pride in yourself and in the football club that reflects in the effort you put in. I don't know where that attitude came from but it needs to go quickly. Whether they had their minds on the next two games, I don't know. But every game we play is an important game.

If you have pride in yourself and in the football club that reflects in the effort you put in.
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish

"If they want to get any success at this football club, they have to understand we respect every opponent we come up against. It was certainly an unacceptable performance.

"Now we will get our minds on the Manchester City game. We have to solve our own problems. What do we do to put it right? Same as we always do - we work."

Dalglish is expected to make changes, with winger Stewart Downing and Dirk Kuyt looking to return to the starting line-up.

Steven Gerrard's early penalty in the first leg at the Etihad Stadium two weeks ago is all that divides the two clubs.

But whereas Liverpool are in need of a lift, City arrive at Anfield on the back of a dramatic 3-2 victory over title rivals Tottenham to preserve their three-point cushion at the top of the Premier League.