Wednesday 23 January 2019

Thriving Dalglish keeping ambition in Czech

'Pool boss focusing solely on Sparta as expectation builds around Anfield

Kenny Dalglish refuses to look beyond tonight's clash with Sparta Prague as the momentum behind his Liverpool revival continues to gather.

Dalglish has transformed the mood at Anfield since taking charge of their then miserable campaign seven weeks ago and the ground is sold out for the Europa League visit of the Czechs.

Such is the enthusiasm for the Reds under Kop legend Dalglish that fans have not been deterred by the competition's lack of glamour, a 6pm kick-off or the dreadful, goalless first leg between the sides last week.

Supporters yearning for a resurgence would love a trip to the final in Dublin in May but Dalglish is playing down growing expectations.

"We've got to win the game tomorrow night (Thursday) first," said the Scot, appointed until the end of the season in a caretaker capacity, ahead of the round of 32 return match.

"We don't need to run too fast. As we've always said, the next game is the most important one.

"We've got to concentrate on that and get as much as we can from it, so that's all we're going to try and do.

"We've never promised anything other than hard work and 100 per cent commitment.


"If we stop doing that then we've got a problem, but these boys have been brilliant in that department so far."

Having held out last week, Liverpool will be favourites to progress in front of their own fans.

Yet after failing to register a shot on target in Prague, the Reds may need to show more adventure against a team short of match action after their winter break.

Dalglish said: "Sparta are a difficult side to break down, that was shown last week.

"I don't think they will be too different to what they were, but hopefully we will be different."

Liverpool are at least looking strong at the back themselves having conceded just one goal in their last six outings.

Dalglish added: "As we've always said, if we don't lose any goals we've got a great chance of getting something from the game.

"That's not to say we're going to set up with a defensive mentality -- but it just gives us a better opportunity to win matches."

Martin Skrtel could return to the defence after being left out of the starting line-up last week.

The Slovakia international said: "In the last few weeks we've got some good results and that was really important for us, for the players and the club.

"We just hope we carry on."

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