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Wednesday, January 11, 2012
winning @ the mancs - "european style"
Kenny Dalglish praised the battling qualities of his players after Liverpool secured a 1-0 win against Manchester City in the Carling Cup semi-final, first leg at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.
A bright start resulted in the Reds opening the scoring through Steven Gerrard's 13th minute penalty after Daniel Agger had been brought down by Stefan Savic. However, Liverpool had to repel heavy pressure from City in the second half in order to claim the victory and ensure they'll take a one-goal advantage into the return meeting at Anfield in a fortnight's time.
Dalglish told his post-match press conference: "It was two different performances in each half. In the first we looked a lot more threatening than in the second, but in the second half with the goal advantage we just battened down the hatches and tried our best to get through it. "We've had no goals against us - not too many teams have come here and gone away with no goals against them.
"It was a fantastic effort from the players in the second half. It might not have been the prettiest performance, but they didn't fall short in their desire, commitment or ambition in any way. "Once we got ourselves in front, we were determined not to lose it." Dalglish added: "They are always a very difficult team to break down. They are a fantastic side and that's why they are top of the league.
"We might have a slight advantage with the goal, but that doesn't mean to say there is anybody jumping through hoops. "We'll just be as professional as we can in the second leg." Gerrard's goal was just rewards for Liverpool, who took the game to City right from the first whistle. Indeed, had it not been for a couple of fine saves from Joe Hart in the first half, the Reds' margin of victory could have been greater. Nonetheless, Dalglish acknowledged the hosts also had chances of their own to draw level and admitted he was more than satisfied with the final scoreline.
"To be fair, Pepe made a good save from Richards's header and also one from Nasri in the first half," said the manager. "If you come here and win 1-0, you're not going to be unhappy are you? It was a fantastic performance from the players against a team that are a really good side. "We've got to be happy, but we're not presuming in any way, shape or form that the job is done." Gerrard was able to complete his second 90 minutes in succession at the Etihad following his injury lay off.
Dalglish believes his captain is reaping the benefits of being eased back into the groove. "He is going to get better every time he finishes a match," said the Scot. "We've tried to be sensible with the way we've progressed him. More importantly than us, he is certainly gaining the benefit from it as well. "It's great to see him back. He's got a great influence on us." Dalglish continued: "We put the other old warhorse on at the end, Carra. There is a good bit of knowledge between those two on how to win a game and we needed it tonight." Author:James Carroll at the Etihad Stadium