Friday 15 December 2017

Dalglish thanks team for keeping it clean

LIVERPOOL manager Kenny Dalglish believes the whole team can share the credit for goalkeeper Jose Reina moving to the top of the pile in terms of Premier League clean sheets.

The goalless draw at home to Tottenham on Monday may have been disappointing in some respects but it earned the Spain international his 10th shut-out in 24 matches. That put him level with Manchester City's Joe Hart in the race for the golden glove, which Reina won in three consecutive seasons from 2005.

In 244 league appearances for Liverpool since joining from Villarreal in July 2005, he has kept a total of 118 clean sheets.

And while the 29-year-old has undoubtedly played a key role -- highlighted when he made a good block to deny Gareth Bale in a late one-on-one at the start of the week -- Dalglish feels everyone has contributed.

"The clean sheet on Monday was Pepe's 10th of the season, which puts him at the top of the list in the division," said the Reds boss, whose side have the second best defensive record behind leaders City.

"But while it is the goalkeeper who gets the recognition, everybody plays a part in achieving those clean sheets.

"Pepe made a really good save late on in the game on Monday and, like the rest of the team, made an important contribution to us getting the result. Like everything else, whether you're attacking the goal or whether you're defending it, everybody has to be taken into consideration.

"They have all made a contribution to us not losing too many goals."

Dalglish said: "The forwards work hard to play their part and you could go straight through the team. In the same way, everybody contributes to making a goal. Individuals rightly receive praise on occasion but the most important thing for us is that they are in it collectively.

"That's the reason why they have been successful. It's a good recipe."

The form of centre-back duo Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel has helped tighten things up at the back with the latter, in particular, impressing in recent weeks.

Further up the field it has been summer free transfer Craig Bellamy who has stood out, taking over as leading scorer with nine goals while Luis Suarez was serving his eight-match suspension.

That form earned him the player of the month award for the second time since re-signing for the club in August.

But after a hectic January, which saw Liverpool play eight matches, progress to the Carling Cup final at the expense of Manchester City and knock Manchester United out of the FA Cup, the Wales international believes the team are now well placed to kick on in the final third of the season

"It's been a tough month for us but fortunately we've come through it and going into February we're in good shape," said the 32-year-old.

"We had eight games in the space of three or four weeks and the squad's been tested.

"We've got a chance to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals if we beat Brighton, we're in the final of the League Cup, we're four points off fourth and have a fully fit squad.

"We have a good chance to up the charge and end the season on a real positive note."

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