Kenny Dalglish toiling to halt Liverpool slide

THE pressure is mounting on Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, but the Scot expects everyone at the club to stick together to pull through a dismal run of form.

Dalglish’s side crashed to a sixth defeat in seven Barclays Premier League games, and their eighth defeat of 2012, at Newcastle on Sunday to remain a lowly eighth in the table, a place below city neighbours Everton and a massive 16 points off Champions League qualification.

Despite winning the Carling Cup and having an FA Cup semi-final to come, Dalglish is coming under increasing pressure, but he is convinced the club have the spirit to battle through the latest difficulties.

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He said: “I just think we have got to stick together. They [the players] will stick together because they want to get it right, and the best way to do it is to stick together and believe in what they are doing.

“It’s up to us to harness the frustration and disappointment properly, work on it and take it as a positive because if they start to enjoy losing games, we’d have a problem.”

Striker Luis Suarez has also vowed to fight on to get the club moving back in the right direction. Liverpool’s poor league run actually stretches back to the turn of the year, since when they have collected just eight points in 12 games.

Suarez, whose return to the side following a lengthy suspension has done little to improve on-field matters, tweeted: “Difficult moments after the last matches.... We must continue to work until the end! YNWA.”

That sequence has at least been punctuated by good cup results but Liverpool now have a problem for their semi-final against Everton on 14 April after goalkeeper Jose Reina was sent off at St James’ Park.

Reina was dismissed nine minutes from time for aiming a headbutt at James Perch and now faces a three-match ban which will include the Wembley clash with an Everton side which operates on a fraction of the budget afforded to Dalglish.

Dalglish admitted the Spaniard deserved his red card and Liverpool have not lodged an appeal. The club had until yesterday afternoon to exercise that right but the Football Association has confirmed no notification has been received.

Liverpool started brightly against Newcastle with a Craig Bellamy cross being tipped on to the woodwork and Danny Simpson fortunate not to concede a penalty against them for handling on the line.

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But things started to go wrong after Papiss Cisse opened the scoring on 19 minutes and their fate was sealed by the Senegal international’s second goal just before the hour.

Dalglish said: “Some of the football we played in the first half was good and exciting and we could have been in front. There were lots of times when we created openings, but we have got to take them and we have got to believe in ourselves and believe in what we are doing.

“If we do that, then we will have a better opportunity.”

The other major talking point concerned the performance of former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll, who joined Liverpool in a £35 million deal in January 2011. The 23-year-old endured a frustrating afternoon in front of his old fans and was booked for diving early on before being substituted and trudging straight down the tunnel ten minutes from time. Dalglish defended Carroll and, on the subject of his booking, said the player had not tried to con the referee into awarding a penalty.

Dalglish said: “We have no qualms about when Andy went down with the goalkeeper. I thought it wasn’t a penalty kick and I also thought Andy was losing his balance anyway before he reached the goalkeeper and even if he had got past the goalkeeper, he might still have fallen over.