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Premier League

Former Liverpool star Mark Lawrenson defends manager Kenny Dalglish


Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson does not believe manager Kenny Dalglish is facing the sack, but has conceded his former team-mate needs to start winning some Premier League games.

Despite lifting the Carling Cup and reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup, Liverpool's torrid league form has led to some calling Dalglish, back at Anfield for a second spell in charge, into question.

They have already lost eight games in 2012, the most recent of which was a stormy 2-0 defeat at Newcastle yesterday.

Dalglish watched on as big-money striker Andy Carroll stormed down the tunnel after being substituted following another game without a goal, while Pepe Reina was sent off for headbutting.

But despite the mounting criticism, Lawrenson believes Dalglish is safe in his job.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I think one or two people are (mentioning him being sacked), because as a manager in the Premier League it's a crisis if you lose a couple of games.

"They have Villa at home at the weekend and I hate saying it's a must-win, but it is.

"We live in an instant media world, but I think the Liverpool owners are in it for the end game. I think he (Dalglish) will be fine, but at any level, you have to win games.

"I really don't believe he will be sacked."

Champions League qualification is out of the question for Liverpool for another season as a result of their struggles, and Lawrenson is concerned they will not be able to get back there until they leave their Anfield home.

He said: "Another problem at Liverpool is the stadium. It's really difficult to know where they're going to go.

"Until they get into the Champions League places they can't attract Champions League players, but how do they get there? Pay stupid money?

"They're trying to play catch-up with other clubs. Anfield is full at 40,000 every week, but other clubs, Arsenal get 60,000, Manchester United 75,000, and then you have Manchester City and Chelsea."

Lawrenson also pointed the finger at Dalglish's four big-money signings for not performing as they would have been expected too.

Carroll, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson were brought in for approaching £85million between them, but Lawrenson feels they have failed to fire.

He added: "I think people know what Kenny is trying to do. The biggest problem is, Adam, Downing, Carroll and Henderson between them have contributed six league goals.

"You should be looking at 25-30 goals between them.

"Adam hasn't done it but the four of them haven't. Andy Carroll hasn't been the same player. It's the old 'take the boy out of Newcastle'. He's not been the same. I think when he took his shirt off it was out of frustration."