Sunday, October 2, 2011

Everton 0 - 2 Liverpool

Kenny Dalglish praised a 'professional and composed' display from his players after Liverpool beat 10-man Everton 2-0 in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Reds had to bide their time before Andy Carroll opened the scoring at Goodison Park when he converted Jose Enrique's cross on 71 minutes after the Blues' Jack Rodwell was shown a straight red card midway through the first half.

It was the 20th red card shown in Merseyside derbies since the formation of the Premier League.

Luis Suarez was the villain in the eyes of Everton fans after he was involved in the sending-off of Jack Rodwell before scoring the second goal.

The Uruguay international was berated as a cheat by the majority of Goodison Park - and appeared to have a coin thrown at him - after making the most of Rodwell's sliding tackle midway through the first half.

Luis Suarez spoke of his delight after he and strike-partner Andy Carroll fired the goals which won the 216th Merseyside derby.

Andy Carroll scored his first Barclays Premier League goal of the season as Liverpool recorded a 2-0 victory over Everton in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

Suarez, and the performance of referee Martin Atkinson, somewhat overshadowed Andy Carroll's first Premier League goal of the season.

His strike was the breakthrough and set his side on the way to victory which Everton had worked so hard for so long to deny their visitors.

The last time Kenny Dalglish left Goodison Park as Liverpool manager more than 20 years ago after a 4-4 FA Cup draw the major story developed two days later when he surprisingly quit citing health problems, brought on partly by the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Liverpool 2 - 1 Wolves

Liverpool returned to winning ways but made hard work of it at home to Wolves as defensive frailties and equally-fragile confidence levels were almost exposed for a third successive week.

Kenny Dalglish claimed Liverpool were 'very fortunate to have Luis Suarez' after another match-winning performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

The Uruguay international scored his fourth goal of the campaign to make it 2-0 following a Roger Johnson OG.

Steven Fletcher helped make a game of it by firing in at the Anfield Road End early in the second period but the Reds were worthy winners.

Andy Carroll was one of six players recalled to the starting XI following our Carling Cup victory over Brighton in midweek, meaning man of the match Craig Bellamy dropped to the bench where he'd sit alongside the still recuperating Steven Gerrard.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Brighton 1 - 2 Liverpool

Craig Bellamy today spoke of his delight after scoring his first goal since his return to Anfield as Liverpool booked their place in the fourth round of the Carling Cup after a 2-1 win at Brighton.

The Welsh foward's inspired performance helped Liverpool secure progression to the Carling Cup fourth round as they condemned Brighton to a 2-1 defeat - their first at the Amex Stadium.

Kenny Dalglish believes Liverpool will reap the rewards of Craig Bellamy's return to topflight football.

The Wales star spent a year on loan with Championship side Cardiff last season prior to his emotional return to Anfield.

The diminutive striker capped a sensational display with a goal on his first start for Dalglish's men against Brighton on Wednesday night, leaving the boss even more convinced that the 31-year-old will make a big impression in L4 second time around.

Bellamy was instrumental in all of Liverpool's best moves in the Carling Cup triumph against the Seagulls, linking up superbly with Maxi Rodriguez, Dirk Kuyt and Luis Suarez.

Dalglish feels their exciting combination play was the result of the hard work they have put in on the training pitch and is hoping for more of the same in the months that lie ahead.

Steven Gerrard watched Craig Bellamy fire a superb goal in the Carling Cup win at Brighton and then declared: "That's why we signed him."

The skipper was impressed by the Welshman's vibrant display throughout an entertaining tie at the Amex and believes the No.39 will add a new dimension to Liverpool's attack this season.

Liverpool made a scintillating start to the clash with the Seagulls and could have led by more than Bellamy's goal when they went in at the interval.

Gerrard feels the hosts deserve credit for the way they raised their level after the break but was happy to see the Reds make it safely into round four of the competition.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tottenham Hotspur 4 - 0 Liverpool

Charlie Adam and Martin Skrtel saw red as nine-man Liverpool went down to a 4-0 defeat at Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.

Luka Modric's stunning sixth minute drive got the hosts off to a flyer before the Scotland international received his marching orders for a second bookable offence inside half an hour.

The Reds battled manfully to keep a foothold in the game but when the Slovakian suffered the same fate on 63 minutes it provided Harry Redknapp's team with the opportunity to see out the contest with ease.

Further efforts from Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor (2) sealed Kenny Dalglish's side's misery on a day that also saw Daniel Agger forced off with a rib injury.

Ahead of the contest Dalglish made one change to the team that was so unfortunate to lose at Stoke City, with Andy Carroll returning to the fold in place of Dirk Kuyt.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish, who met referees' chief Mike Riley this week after venting his anger at Mark Clattenburg's decisions against his team last weekend, was furious with Lee Probert's decision-making at times today, stopping the official as he went down the tunnel at half-time.

Right from the kick-off it looked like there was only ever going to be one winner in this match.

After his team's midweek trip to Greece, Harry Redknapp reverted to the same XI that beat Wolves and they stamped their dominance on the game from the whistle.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Stoke City 1 - 0 Liverpool

Liverpool stumbled over a familiar hurdle at the Britannia Stadium as they slipped to their first defeat of the season.

Kenny Dalglish admitted his dismay at some of the decisions which went against his side at Stoke and feels Liverpool have had reason to feel hard done by in all four of the Barclays Premier League matches so far this term.

In four visits to Stoke since the Potters earned promotion to the Premier League, the Reds have collected just two points and lost their last two matches.

Not since 1968 have Stoke recorded back-to-back home league wins over Liverpool and the result brought a side brimming with confidence before the international break back down to earth with a hefty bump.

Jon Walters scored the only goal from a 20th-minute penalty after being fouled by Jamie Carragher.

From that point nearly all the possession and chances were created by the visitors, but the resilient hosts ground out the win despite a frantic final half-hour.

The Reds can consider themselves unfortunate to have not taken something, having applied heavy pressure to the Stoke goal in the second half as they pressed in search of an equaliser, but they were to be left frustrated by the home side's stubborn defending.

Dalglish opted to make just one change to the side that beat Bolton so comprehensively last time out, with Martin Skrtel drafted in for the recuperating Martin Kelly.

That meant new signings Craig Bellamy and Sebastian Coates were named on the substitutes' bench at the Britannia Stadium as the Reds went in search of a first win on the Potters' home turf since a League Cup tie in November 2000.

On that occasion, Liverpool ran out emphatic 8-0 victors, but Stoke have come a long way since that night - as proved by a teamsheet that contained club record signing - and ex-Red - Peter Crouch in the starting XI and fellow new boys Cameron Jerome and Wilson Palacios on the bench.

Jamie Carragher admitted the Liverpool players felt aggrieved at the manner of their first defeat of the season.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Gerrard targets Spurs for comeback

Steven Gerrard has targeted Liverpool's trip to Tottenham to make his comeback from a groin injury.

The skipper insists he feels 'fitter, stronger and hungrier than ever' as he nears his Anfield comeback.

Gerrard has been sidelined since undergoing surgery in March, and has only played in six games since Kenny Dalglish's arrival at Anfield in January.

But after an intense period of rehabilitation which saw Liverpool physios work with him throughout the summer, the 31-year-old is eager to get back into his No.8 shirt.

He is preparing to return to full training next week and has set his sights on the Reds' trip to White Hart Lane on September 18 to make his comeback.

Gerrard had hoped to be fit in time for the start of the new season, only to suffer a setback in July. And the England midfielder admits it has been hard seeing Dalglish's new signings flourish in his absence.

Gerrard's recuperation was stalled during pre-season with news that he had acquired an infection.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Liverpool 3 - 1 Bolton Wanderers... Classy Reds Go Top!

Liverpool produced an impressive performance to overcome Bolton 3-1 at Anfield and continue their strong start to the season. Kenny Dalglish described Liverpool's performance as a 'team effort' after watching his side record a commanding 3-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers to go top of the Barclays Premier League table.

Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam scored their first Liverpool goals as the Reds crushed Bolton 3-1 to move top of the Premier League.

The summer signings struck either side of a powerful Martin Skrtel header as the hosts, inspired by the outstanding Luis Suarez, produced an electrifying performance at Anfield.

Bolton struck late on through Ivan Klasnic but generally offered little as Liverpool, backed by a raucous crowd, displayed further evidence of their rejuvenation under Kenny Dalglish.

The home team maintained a ferocious tempo from the kick-off with Suarez, preferred to Andy Carroll up front, at the heart of almost all their attacking play.

With another new player in Stewart Downing also influential, Liverpool looked a different proposition from the Roy Hodgson side which started the last campaign so sluggishly.

For Bolton defeat was a reality check after a promising start to the season. It may also have been their last game with Gary Cahill as Arsenal consider whether to make another bid for the inspirational defender before Wednesday's transfer deadline.

Insua and Aquilani leave Liverpool

Emiliano Insua has left Liverpool to join Portuguese side Sporting on a five-year deal.

Insua, 22, joined Liverpool in 2007 but has struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular and spent last season on loan at Galatasaray.

With the arrival of Jose Enrique from Newcastle, Liverpool have confirmed on their official website that the left-back has been allowed to move on.

Insua, who made 44 appearances for Liverpool, has told Sporting's website that he is excited about the challenge ahead in Portugal.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have confirmed a deal is in place for Alberto Aquilani to join AC Milan on loan.

The deal will see Aquilani spend the season at the San Siro with an option to make the signing permanent. It has been reported that Milan will be obliged to sign the Italy midfielder if he makes 25 appearances.

Aquilani, 27, joined Liverpool from Roma in 2009 as a replacement for Xabi Alonso, but he struggled with injuries during his debut season and was then allowed to spend the 2010-11 campaign on loan at Juventus.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish had earlier suggested that he would be happy to include Aquilani in his plans but, with a high number of midfielders at his disposal, the Italian has been allowed to depart.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Arsenal 0 - 2 Liverpool

Liverpool recorded their first away win over Arsenal since 2000 to heap more misery on the Gunners. Jamie Carragher admits that banishing Liverpool's Emirates hoodoo made their first win of the season that much sweeter.

The Reds produced an impressive showing to secure a 2-0 success over Arsene Wenger's side and claim three points on the Gunners' home turf for the first time since 2000. Kenny Dalglish believes the 2-0 victory over Arsenal proves how much better his squad is this season.

The boss introduced Raul Meireles and Luis Suarez with 20 minutes remaining and both played a crucial part in our first win on Arsenal soil since February 2000.

Suarez was applying the pressure which led to Aaron Ramsey's own goal before Meireles set the Uruguayan up for our second. Two goals did the damage and the club's vice captain revealed that Kenny Dalglish's men felt they had a point to prove following the opening day draw with Sunderland.

Samir Nasri impressed for the Gunners but the home side's luck was out after Aaron Ramsey's own goal and a last-minute strike from substitute Luis Suarez handed victory to the visitors.

Arsene Wenger - who now has half his first-choice team out because of suspension or injury - must regroup his squad for next week's crucial Champions League play-off second leg in Udinese and the small matter of a trip to Manchester United.

Nasri - whose £22million move to City is, according to reports on French TV, said to have broken down - did not applaud the crowd as the teams came out of the tunnel, and was then jeered by some sections of the Emirates Stadium faithful when his name was announced.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Liverpool 1 - 1 Sunderland

Luis Suarez's goalscoring return could not inspire Liverpool to an opening day victory as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Sunderland on Saturday afternoon.

The Copa America winner looked to have set Kenny Dalglish's men on the way to three points when he made amends for an early missed penalty with a superb header on 13 minutes.

However, despite dominating for large spells the hosts could not make their superiority count and they were made to pay when the Black Cats hit back through Sebastian Larsson's 57th minute volley.

It capped a frustrating afternoon for Liverpool who were by far the better side in the opening 45 minutes and could easily have run out comfortable victors had they made their early chances count.

Heading into the encounter, the boss opted to give a quartet of new signings their competitive bow with Charlie Adam, Jose Enrique and Stewart Downing joining Jordan Henderson in the line-up.

Sunderland could perhaps consider themselves somewhat fortunate not to have gone down to 10 men with the score still goalless when Kieran Richardson hauled down Suarez from behind inside the box after the striker had attempted to round Simon Mignolet.

Kenny Dalglish admits he was disappointed not to see Liverpool collect three points as they drew 1-1 with Sunderland at Anfield, but acknowledged a draw was a fair reflection of the contest.

He knows Liverpool may find it difficult to win the title this season but believes the squad is "a lot stronger" than last season.

Liverpool have invested heavily in the squad this summer, bringing in Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam, Doni and Jose Enrique, and Dalglish has paid tribute to Fenway Sports Group for those signings.

However, although Dalglish believes the squad is significantly better than the one that finished sixth last season, he refused to raise expectations the team can lift the title for the first time in the Premier League era.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Xabi Alonso

654 days since his emotional leaving of Liverpool - and six years on from the glory of Istanbul, Xabi Alonso has a story to tell.

Alonso's Liverpool story is one of Champions League and FA Cup success, ridiculous long-range goals, defence splitting passes and general midfield mastery.

But the way it all came to an end left something of a bad taste in the mouth.

Fans all over the world were left devastated when the deal to take Alonso to Madrid - a deal which had been on the cards for 12 months after then manager Rafael Benitez confirmed his interest in pursuing the signing of Gareth Barry in the transfer market - finally went through in the summer of 2009.

Suddenly the club's midfield play-maker had gone; the man who made it all happen in the centre of the field and the man who had driven Liverpool to within touching distance of the league title with a record number of points.

Surely he would want to stay and help the Reds take that next, big, elusive step? We had gone so close - why did he have to end his Liverpool love affair now?

The truth can be found by rewinding 12 months when the manager dropped an end of season bombshell on his Spanish star.

Xabi Alonso has revealed he had no choice but to leave L
iverpool once Rafael Benitez made it clear he was planning to sign a replacement in midfield and he no longer had the full confidence of the manager.

Alonso left Anfield for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, after Liverpool had finished second in the Premier League within four points of champions Manchester United, and the Spain international has now lifted the lid on the reasons for his departure.

After 12 months of speculation over Liverpool's interest in Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry, Alonso ran out of patience and decided to leave Merseyside.

Benitez never managed to adequately replace Alonso, despite telling the player he would be one of the first out of the door. Alberto Aquilani arrived from Roma in a £20 million deal, but his time at Anfield was dogged by injuries and he was loaned to Juventus shortly after Benitez was sacked 12 months ago.

Alonso may now wear the white of Real Madrid but throughout our chat it's clear the red of Liverpool still has an extra special place in his heart.

Before the camera started rolling on our interview, he was keen to hear about the latest news from Anfield and Melwood, about what the atmosphere is like at the training ground and about the general feeling around the club at the end of another season.

His last visit to Anfield was for a game in December during the closing weeks of Roy Hodgson's reign and he remarked of getting a strong sense that all was not well. He was clearly pleased when reassured the club today is vastly different to how it was just a few short months ago.

While talking through the ups and downs of his five years on Merseyside it's clear one date and one night in particular still brings out a bigger smile than any other.

May 25, 2005. Istanbul. The Champions League final. It may have been six years ago today but for Xabi, and most probably for everyone else glued to their TV sets or inside the Ataturk Stadium on that famous night, the memories come flooding back as though it all happened yesterday.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Carragher on/off the pitch

Liverpool vice-captain Jamie Carragher admits he will have to modify his ultra-competitive on-field attitude if he eventually decides to go into management.

The 33-year-old still has more than a year left on his current deal at Anfield but has long been linked with a move into coaching.

Carragher, the club's second highest appearance-maker with 667, is playing under his fifth Liverpool manager in Kenny Dalglish and accepts he has learned much from all of them.

He does not know what sort of boss he would make should he decide to take the plunge when he eventually does retire from playing, only that he will have to be a lot calmer.

Recently Carragher has been focused more on helping teenage defenders John Flanagan and Jack Robinson settle into the first team after injuries forced them to be fast-tracked from the reserves.

It has been an easier job than he could have expected as both, particularly Flanagan who has featured in the past six matches, have not looked out of place.

That points to a healthier future not only for the first team but the academy, from where Carragher himself graduated.

Houllier might return

Gerard Houllier could make a surprise appearance for Aston Villa's final match of the season at home to Liverpool next Sunday.

Villa manager Houllier was admitted to Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth hospital on April 20 suffering with a heart problem, and discharged nine days later.

However, given Houllier's health history as he underwent open-heart surgery nine and a half years ago, there has been speculation over whether he will return to the helm at all.

Assistant manager Gary McAllister, who has served as caretaker for Villa's last three matches and will do so again for Sunday's trip to Arsenal, today confirmed Houllier was on the mend and could be at Villa Park for the game with his former club.

This week defender Luke Young voiced his concerns regarding the prospect of a summer of uncertainty at Villa Park should Houllier's absence be indefinite. McAllister has confirmed Houllier is under "no pressure in terms of time'' as to when he will be back in his office.

One of the players Houllier and McAllister are looking to retain is veteran goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who turns 40 next Wednesday. American Friedel has played every league game since joining Villa in July 2008 from Blackburn for £2 million.

McAllister heads to the Emirates Stadium without defender Ciaran Clark due to a niggly hamstring problem, but with midfielder Jean Makoun available after missing the last two games with a dead leg.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reina see prospect

Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina has been convinced he still has a future at the club by the turnaround effected by Kenny Dalglish, who signed a three-year contract to become permanent manager on Thursday.

Pepe Reina has revealed how he is relishing the prospect of being a part of a bright future at Liverpool Football Club under the management of Kenny Dalglish.

Reina is convinced the club are heading in the right direction with the Scot at the helm - and he's determined to assist in bringing major honours back to Anfield over the coming years.

News of Dalglish's deal broke shortly before 1.30pm on Thursday afternoon. Reina revealed he found out by watching television, but was left overjoyed upon hearing details of how the 60-year-old will remain at Anfield until 2014.

When Dalglish was brought in on an initial temporary basis on January 8 to replace the sacked Roy Hodgson the situation at Anfield looked bleak. The team were 12th in the Premier League, four points off the relegation zone having already spent time in the bottom three, with disaffection stretching from the team to the terraces.

Unhappy star striker Fernando Torres was angling for a move - which he eventually got with his £50million transfer to Chelsea - and it appeared Spain team-mate Reina would be next out of the door.

But in just over four months the 28-year-old goalkeeper has been persuaded purely by results on the pitch and a change in atmosphere he can still fulfil his ambitions at Anfield.

While confident of an exciting future for Liverpool, Reina's short-term aim will be overcoming Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Sunday and securing European qualification for 2011-12.

Liverpool are now fifth in the table and victory over Tottenham on Sunday at Anfield will secure Europa League football. Their current five-match unbeaten run has seen them pick up 13 points and go on a goalscoring spree with 17 for and only three against.

It is form which has prompted premature talk of Liverpool being able to mount a title challenge next season - a scenario which would have been met with ridicule at the turn of the year. Reina is confident they will improve but will not get carried away.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Maxi and Suarez worth the price

Liverpool may be about to be knocked off their perch by Manchester United but they showed they might just mount a serious challenge for a 19th league title of their own next season by destroying Fulham 5-2.

The Reds made it 13 goals in their last three games and Maxi Rodriguez completed his second hat-trick over the same period, with Dirk Kuyt scoring his 12th in 13 matches for club and country and Luis Suarez wrapping up the rout.

The win moved Liverpool back above Tottenham into fifth place in the Premier League and left Fulham stunned as they paid the price for a horrible first 16 minutes which saw them 3-0 down.

Carragher, who made his 666th appearance for the Reds to move second on their all-time list, was especially delighted with the manner of the victory.

Despite scoring 13 goals in their last three games, there does not appear to be enough matches left for Liverpool to secure a Champions League place, with Dalglish refusing to speculate on where they might finish the season.

For Liverpool to stand any chance of a Champions League spot, they would need Manchester City to suffer a late collapse, starting tomorrow against Tottenham.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has confirmed he is on track to return at the start of next season after missing the past two months with a groin injury. He required surgery on the problem and has not featured since the Reds' 3-1 victory over Manchester United in March.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dalglish happy with progress

KENNY DALGLISH believes shared responsibility has been the key to Liverpool's late season charge for Europa League qualification ahead of tonight's clash at Fulham. Liverpool have proved in recent weeks that they were never a two-man team that relied on Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard.

Torres left the club in January, joining Chelsea in a £50 million deal, while Gerrard has struggled with injury problems at times this season. Nevertheless, the Reds have enjoyed a distinct upturn in fortunes since Dalglish took the reins as manager - and the Scot believes the players deserve great credit for improving the team spirit and showing they have never relied on one or two key players.

Midfielders Raul Meireles and Maxi Rodriguez have made vital goal scoring contributions along with Dirk Kuyt, Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll. Players have fed off each other's individual success and Dalglish says even those who haven't been involved in the matches have contributed to the feelgood factor around the squad.

Dalglish also praised those players who have struggled to get into his first team for recent matches - saying their positive attitude in training has still played a major role in the club's current rise to sixth in the Premier League table.

Liverpool face Fulham at Anfield on Monday evening, hoping to move above Tottenham into fifth with a draw or win but Dalglish insists his players won't need any added motivation.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jay Spearing pens new deal

Jay Spearing has become the latest Liverpool player to commit to the club, signing an undisclosed contract extension at Anfield.

Spearing, 22, has shot to prominence this season, producing a host of fine performances during his eight appearances for the first team under Kenny Dalglish this term. .

Dalglish admits he's been delighted with Spearing's progression since he returned to the Anfield helm in Janaury.

After earning a regular run in the first team, the former FA Cup youth winner has followed in the footsteps of Lucas Leiva and Dirk Kuyt in penning new deals.

Director of football Damien Comolli told the club's website: "He won his place in the team on merit and has showed in the last games that he can raise his game to what we need."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Maxi's future

Maxi Rodriguez has revealed his determination to remain at Liverpool and help the club enjoy a successful European campaign next season. The Argentine midfielder has been in fine form of late, netting four times in his last two outing.

His goals have been crucial in helping Kenny Dalglish's side assume fifth spot in the Barclays Premier League and he insists he remains committed to fighting the Reds cause beyond the end of the season.

A hat-trick in the 5-0 demolition of Birmingham City followed by another strike in the 3-0 triumph over Newcastle has inevitably propelled Maxi into the spotlight. However, he is adamant personal accolades are irrelevant when compared to the overall success of the team.

"I am really happy here," said Maxi. "The people have treated us really well. The type of life we have here, the way of life, is very different to what we were used to after nine years in Spain but I am enjoying everything.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hyypia retires at the end of the season

Hyypia, 37, has been a regular for Leverkusen for the past two seasons since joining the club from Liverpool in 2009, where he spent ten successful years.

The Finland centre-back won the Champions League, UEFA Cup, League Cup and FA Cup (twice) in his time on Merseyside and in 2006 was recognised by the club's fans as the 38th best Reds player of all time.

Hyypia announced that he intends to hang up his boots at a press conference on Monday, though he will continue to work at Leverkusen as an assistant coach and will also become No. 2 to Finland boss Mixu Paatelainen.

Leverkusen general manager Michael Reschke praised the defender's contribution to the team and the dressing room and said he was delighted to be holding on to the Finn.

Hyypia has been crowned Finnish Player of the Year nine times in his career, including the past three years in a row and only Jari Litmanen can boast more than the defender's 103 caps for the national team.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Reds' Return...

Saturday's 5-0 win over Birmingham was the 16th successive Premier League game they have scored in - the best run in the top flight.

Kenny Dalglish believes any abuse Andrew Carroll receives at the hands of the Newcastle fans on Sunday merely shows how much the striker meant to the Magpies faithful.

Liverpool's £35 million signing is hoping to shake off a knee injury in order to face his old club, and Dalglish has warned Carroll he may receive a hostile reception.

However, former Newcastle boss Dalglish is convinced that any insults from travelling Magpies fans only proves how devastated they were when the striker switched to Anfield in January.

Dalglish will give Carroll every chance to prove his fitness before Sunday, but has warned the striker he will not risk his long-term fitness in order to let him face his boyhood club. And despite struggling with injury since his move to Merseyside, Dalglish expects Carroll to finish the season on a high.

Liverpool's rise up the table has been an achieved at the same time as integrating some young players into the squad. In the absence of injured skipper Steven Gerrard, 22-year-old former youth team captain Jay Spearing has slotted in alongside Lucas and the Brazilian has been impressed by his new partner.

Liverpool play Tottenham at Anfield on May 15 in a match that could decide fifth place in the Premier League.