Kenny Dalglish gives Raul Meireles credit

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The Independent Online

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish insists midfielder Raul Meireles' impressive goalscoring form of late is entirely down to the player's talent and his adaptation to English football.

The Reds boss said he was no "tactical wizard" and the Portugal midfielder's four goals in his last five matches were all a result of the 27-year-old's hard work.

Meireles had not found the target in his first 21 matches after joining from Porto in the summer for £11.5million but has suddenly burst into life in front of goal.

He has been deployed in an advanced midfield role, occasionally alongside captain Steven Gerrard and sometimes on his own, and has been a revelation in the last month.

"Raul has always had the ability he has shown recently," said Dalglish.

"Maybe he's settled down a little bit and is more comfortable and confident because he is playing well but there's been nothing drastic (tactically) for any of the players really.

"It is fantastic to see Raul doing so well. He has always been a talented footballer, he's always had what we are seeing now but it's been trying to get it out and it is coming out now and he's scoring goals."

Meireles has undoubtedly benefited from being given a role he is more accustomed to, having been played deeper and even wide on the right during Roy Hodgson's ill-fated six-month reign.

When Dalglish took over early last month many questioned whether a man who had not managed for more than a decade was equipped to deal with the demands of the modern game.

The 59-year-old Scot has always insisted football has not changed that much and their recent success as he has sought to return the pass-and-move philosophy prevalent during his time at the club as player and manager more than 20 years ago demonstrate as much.

However, having brought in coach Steve Clarke, Jose Mourinho's assistant at Chelsea, Dalglish has shown he is also capable of making significant tactical decisions.



In their last two matches of a four-game winning spell against Stoke and Chelsea he has fielded three centre-backs in 3-4-2-1 and 3-5-1-1 formations.

Former Reds striker Fernando Torres drew a blank on his Chelsea debut on Sunday and admitted Liverpool's formation had taken them by surprise.

Dalglish, though, played down the tactics involved.

"The system change was beneficial to us. It is about the club, about the team, and we are the most important people in our eyes," he added.

"I am not here to try to impress everyone by saying I'm a tactical wizard, I'm just here to get the best from our boys.

"It is part of our responsibility to work out how to do that and we won't do anything to confuse anyone."

Liverpool's best run of the campaign has lifted them to a season's-best sixth place in the Barclays Premier League, six points behind Chelsea in fourth.

But while Dalglish publicly played down expectations of sneaking into Champions League qualification is something, certainly privately, he has ambitions to achieve.

"It wasn't a realistic proposition last season so it is only this season we can worry about," he said.

"We've won four games, so that's moving in the right direction and that's what we want to do.

"We've had four results, four shut-outs, but that doesn't earn us anything for the game tomorrow against Wigan.

"We've got to build on what we've done, but that doesn't mean to say that because we've done it (improved their form) we're finished - we want to continue to do what we've been doing.

"It's much more enjoyable to be winning matches than losing them, so that's the thing that will be at the forefront of my mind.

"It's more enjoyable for everyone if we get a result."

Dalglish will make a late decision on captain Steven Gerrard, who missed England's midweek friendly win over Denmark with a groin problem.

However, 18-year-old midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has been ruled out with a knee tendon injury which will sideline him for 12 weeks.

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