Kenny Dalglish eager to take positives from dismal season

 

Liverpool's disappointing league campaign is almost at an end but manager Kenny Dalglish has seen a number of positives to take forward into next season.

Sunday's trip to Swansea will bring down the curtain on 10 months of inconsistency and ill fortune - aside from the domestic cup competitions where they have won one and reached the final of the other - for the side.

There is obviously work to be done in the summer in terms of strengthening the squad but there are signs that some of Dalglish's longer-term planning is starting to come to fruition.

The strike partnership of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez is starting to look more threatening as a combination, with the former in particular finishing the season well.

Neither were on the scoresheet in their last outing against a much-changed Chelsea, who beat them at Wembley last weekend, but their influence in the 4-1 win was apparent.

Carroll looked mobile, motivated and a threat and gave former England captain John Terry a torrid evening, setting up one goal and winning a penalty.

"I cannot believe neither him (Carroll) nor Luis scored," said Dalglish.

"Luis was fantastic with the first goal, which obviously went down as an own goal.

"Both Andy and Luis were fantastic when they had the ball but more importantly when they never had it.

"You forget Andy Carroll is only 23 and he was unplayable.

"Luis was like he always is, a real threat and a nuisance to anyone who he plays against, with fantastic ability."

Carroll has struggled to find his feet since his £35million move from Newcastle in January last year but he found the Kop in appreciative voice as they sang his name on Tuesday.

The player admitted afterwards that boosted his confidence and Dalglish joked: "I think he has taped it and put it on his ringtone."

Elsewhere on Tuesday Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey formed a good central midfield partnership and both scored.

"They were two different but excellent goals and that won't do them any harm whatsoever," added Dalglish.

"They are a couple of other youngsters there that will benefit from the experience they had."

Dalglish's judgement in the transfer market had been questioned after he lavished a record fee for a British player on Carroll, although it was more than covered by the £50million they received from Fernando Torres' move to Chelsea.

However, former director of football Damien Comolli - who left his post last month after owners Fenway Sports Group decided he was not the man to deliver their vision - believes Carroll has improved greatly in his 16 months at Anfield.

"He's a much better player technically, his runs are better, he's very fit, his lifestyle is very good - he was never drinking or doing stupid things," the Frenchman Comolli told talkSPORT.

"It's part of an education process. All the stats prove that strikers, especially target strikers, peak when they are 26. He's 23.

"He's got so much more to come, it's incredible. I think we are only seeing the beginning.

"He's intelligent, he's dedicated, he listens, he's got a good lifestyle. I don't see why he shouldn't be a success."

PA

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