Everton FA Cup semi-final will not be a distraction for Liverpool insists Kenny Dalglish

 

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish insists their impending Wembley FA Cup semi-final with Everton will not be a distraction as they try to get results back on track.

Five defeats in six league matches has seen some critics suggest the players have all but given up on fourth place to focus instead on the knock-out competition.

Now their near-neighbours have set up a first Wembley meeting since 1989, when Liverpool won the FA Cup with a 3-2 extra-time victory, external focus has been sharpened on the game in just over a fortnight's time.

But Dalglish said that was not the case inside the club's Melwood training ground, where the concentration has been on finding a way to halt the disappointing run of results which has seen the Reds register just two league wins in 2012.

And that starts at Newcastle, eight points above them in sixth, on Sunday.

"The game is two weeks away so I am sure there will be a lot of conversations about Everton nearer the time," said the Scot.

"It was a fantastic result for Everton. They played really well at Sunderland and I think they thoroughly deserved to go through.

"But for us the most important game right at this particular moment in time is Newcastle.

"We will play Newcastle first and take it from there.

"The semi-final against Everton will be covered when it needs to be covered and we won't be getting ahead of ourselves."

There have been a number of accusations levelled at the club in the wake of their dip in results - notably that they are a cup team having already won the Carling Cup at Wembley last month.

Earlier this week former manager Gerard Houllier suggested winning the league was an "obsession" for a club like Liverpool, who have not lifted the title since 1990 during the final throes of Dalglish's first spell in charge.

"I don't know how you define the word obsession," said Dalglish when asked for his thoughts on the Frenchman's comments.

"It would be fantastic for Liverpool Football Club to win the league.

"We've won plenty in the past. It's been a while since the last one and it's an ambition for everyone who supports Liverpool to see them win the league title.

"But, at the end of the day, there are a lot of other games to play other than league matches, and we want to compete in every game we play in.

"I'm not obsessed with anything other than the next game."

PA

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