Dalglish: One game won't change us
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish insists he is building for the long-term future at Anfield and isolated results - good or bad - have no bearing on that plan. The Reds were rightly lauded for the way they played, particularly in the first half, in last weekend's 2-1 win at Chelsea.
Another huge match awaits on Sunday when Premier League leaders Manchester City visit but Dalglish stressed the victory at Stamford Bridge has to be taken in the same context as the likes of disappointing draws at home to Norwich and Swansea. "We don't need to use one game to give us an incentive to bite on and look to the future," said the Scot.
"We look a lot further ahead than that. We are not going to get carried away with one game whether we have won or lost. We are looking to progress and build something here that is going to last for a long time and I think we are moving in the right direction. Whether Sunday is a positive result or not we will have to see but it won't be a determining factor on the progress of the club."
The win over Chelsea saw Liverpool win most of the tactical battles as almost all of Dalglish's decisions paid off positively. Maxi Rodriguez rewarded the manager for his first league start of the season with the opening goal, assisted by Craig Bellamy who was also given a rare start, while the introduction of Jordan Henderson to strengthen the midfield with an attacking impetus after the break helped wrest back some control from the hosts.
The Reds boss, while not saying the team at Stamford Bridge had been a 'horses for courses' selection, said certain players were sometimes picked for certain situations. "I don't think anything just comes about. We know our players, how they can play and their attributes and we will play to them," he added. "We are more important than anyone we are playing against and if we do what we do right we will give anyone a difficult game.
"We look at their assets and certainly Maxi is an asset but we won't go through what the assets of each and every player are. But I think we know what our strengths are and what our individual strengths are and when we need to use them. If we decide and make the right decision more often than we make the wrong ones, there will be an awful lot of smiley faces."
Midfielder Charlie Adam had probably his best match for the club since joining in the summer. But Dalglish said the performance of the "discount" £6.75m signing from Blackpool was no surprise to him. "It only endorses what we thought when he came in first," he said. "Charlie certainly played well but there is nothing he has been doing which has been a surprise to us here.
"He covered a fair bit of ground to get to John Obi Mikel and won the ball back for us but he won the ball back on many occasions during the game but that one was highlighted more because it got us the (opening) goal. His pass for the second goal (by Glen Johnson) was sublime as well. He was someone we wanted in January and we never got but we were patient and we got a discount on him this summer. I don't think he has been a bad bit of business but I don't think he will sit on his laurels either; he wants to push on onwards and upwards and so do we."
Dalglish has ruled captain Steven Gerrard, who has not played since October 22 because of an ankle infection, out of Sunday's visit of City. "Like we've already said, we are delighted with the progress he's making and we've said that we won't put a date on his return - and we won't put a date on it now," he said. "Everyone is available (for Sunday) apart from Steven and Jack Robinson."