Dalglish undeterred by defeat
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish insists the club's European exit will not make him reassess their methods as they prepare for the first of nine crucial matches in the Premier League.
A goalless draw to Braga at Anfield on Thursday meant the Reds went out of the UEFA Europa League 1-0 on aggregate and their only route back in to the competition is to finish fifth. That position is currently occupied by Tottenham, who could be nine points clear by the end of the day.
Liverpool head to Sunderland tomorrow and Dalglish is confident they can maintain a run which has seen his side lose just once in the last eight league matches. The Merseysiders' last domestic outing saw them comprehensively beat Manchester United 3-1 at Anfield but the manager knows, especially after the Braga disappointment, the Black Cats will pose their own problems.
"Every game in the Premier League is different so there is no one correct way of doing something," he said. "Every team have their particular things they are good at and we have ours.
"We just have to prepare to try to nullify what they have got and get the best out of what you have got. I don't think we have done any different since we came in. We have tried to get the best out of the players we have here and against Braga they couldn't be faulted for effort."
Dalglish will at least be able to call on forward Luis Suarez, ineligible in Europe, who was the architect of the win against United. The Black Cats are only four points behind Liverpool and drew 2-2 at Anfield earlier this season.
Since then leading scorer Darren Bent - who scored both goals at Anfield - has been sold to Aston Villa for £18m-plus, a bold and admirable decision according to Dalglish. "I think Sunderland have done very well. It was a very brave decision to sell Darren Bent in the January transfer window," said the 60-year-old. "Whether that punishes them or helps them remains to be seen this season.
"It has probably helped them financially but long-term sometimes you get more finance from keeping players who get you more points and victories. But Steve Bruce commands a lot of respect for making the decision because I think it was more of a financial decision than a footballing decision and he did it in the best interests of the club financially."