Kenny Dalglish backs Craig Bellamy to make positive impact at Liverpool

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The Independent Football

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will focus only on the positives when it comes to new striker Craig Bellamy.

The 32-year-old became the oldest player signed by the Reds boss since his return to the club in January when he joined, also for a second spell, on transfer deadline day.

Age not withstanding, there are a number of issues which surround the Wales international, who is in the twilight of what has been a chequered career.

He became a virtual outcast at Manchester City after falling out with manager Roberto Mancini, spending last season on loan at Cardiff before negotiating a deal to have the final year of his contract paid off in order to rejoin the Reds.

It was not the first time the forward, who gained a reputation for being something of a 'hot head', has clashed with authority.

He fell out with Graeme Souness at Newcastle, got into numerous scrapes on and off the field and in his first spell at Liverpool, the club he supported as a boy, and clashed with team-mate John Arne Riise in an incident involving a golf club.

Bellamy's departure after just 12 months came following disagreements with then boss Rafael Benitez but Dalglish sees only good things in the player, who accepted a pay cut to return.

"He's really enthusiastic at being back and made a lot of sacrifices to come back, financially and otherwise, because of what the club means to him," said the Scot.

"We're delighted to have people with that attitude here.

"I don't know why I've never signed him before in my managerial career.

"Maybe I wasn't working when he was available. He's always been somebody that has impressed me.

"He's got pace, quality, he loves this club - which is very important - and he'll be a fantastic asset for us."

On Bellamy's supposed fiery character Dalglish joked: "I don't think his temperament will be a problem - he's given up golf!

"You wouldn't want to take away the personality from any players.

"It is amazing how people focus on the bad side of someone, they never focus on the good side because that doesn't make a good story.

"They won't talk about the fantastic goals or saves people do.

"Fortunately he has come to a club that doesn't want to do that, we just want to concentrate on the good bits."

Bellamy is set to be named on the bench tomorrow for Liverpool's match at Stoke, where they have not won in three attempts since the Potters' return to the top flight.

Fellow new signing Sebastian Coates, 20, may have to wait for his chance as he settles in following his transfer from Uruguayan club Nacional.

The pair were the last of seven signings made in the summer and after a wholesale clear-out Dalglish feels they are making progress.

"I think the quality of the squad we have is better than it was last year," he said.

"It's not a team that wins any trophies, it's a squad and the stronger our squad is, the better chance we have of coping with the problems that come up throughout the season.

"We're happy with the strength of our squad and the business we've done.

"It's not just the transfer window that's been busy for us, there's been a big turnaround in players which has been very important for us.

"I think since we came in (back in January) 18 players have gone out.

"We'll see if it's going to stand us in good stead or not, but certainly I think it gives us a better chance."

Stoke at the Britannia Stadium pose a significant threat and, unlike some of his counterparts who have criticised the Potters' style, Dalglish is fully prepared for everything which is thrown at his side.

"It's a really difficult place to go and play, Tony Pulis has done a fantastic job and we've got to go there in the right frame of mind," he added.

"We know what we're going to be up against, which isn't a problem as far as I'm concerned.

"I'm not going to dictate to anybody or preach to anybody how they should play. It's their football club and Tony Pulis runs it brilliantly.

"They've got into Europe this year and they've got a style of play that suits them very well - and it's a great credit to them that they have done so well. It's up to us to compete against them."

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