Kenny Dalglish wants Liverpool to find clinical edge

 

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish accepts his side need to sharpen up in front of goal to stand any chance of success this season.

The Reds have a pivotal month ahead, and with top scorer Luis Suarez suspended until early February other players are going to have to make a contribution.

Liverpool have scored just 24 goals in 20 Barclays Premier League matches and behind Suarez, with eight in the current campaign, are Craig Bellamy with five and Maxi Rodriguez with four.

Liverpool start their FA Cup campaign tomorrow against Oldham at Anfield where they will be expected to dispatch the League One side.

A convincing victory would set them up perfectly for a return to the Etihad Stadium for the Carling Cup semi-final first leg on Wednesday, just over a week after losing 3-0 to Manchester City there.

Dalglish said that defeat - only Liverpool's second in 18 matches - to Roberto Mancini's side had taught them valuable lessons.

"I think it was a good learning opportunity for us," said the Scot.

"It only reflects the importance of being clinical - and they were clinical.

"If we want to get to where everyone wants to take the club then we have to be clinical."

Two of Liverpool's most potent weapons have been used sparingly - for different reasons - this season.

Bellamy has scored five goals in 17 appearances but only seven of those have been starts as the 32-year-old has been carefully managed by Dalglish having only signed on the final day of the August transfer window.

But on the occasions he has played, whether in the first XI or off the bench, he has looked dangerous cutting in from a wide left position.

More significantly for Dalglish and the team, captain Steven Gerrard has made only eight appearances in an injury-delayed and then interrupted season.

He has already shown what a difference he makes in the three substitute appearances he has made after coming back from two months out with an ankle infection.

With that pair playing together the Reds look an altogether different prospect and the presence of the England midfielder has certainly given three-goal £35million striker Andy Carroll a boost.

"When Craig and Steven came on (against Manchester City) we looked a bit livelier," admitted Dalglish.

Off the field Liverpool are hoping to finally put the Suarez affair behind them after the Uruguay international issued an apology for any offence caused in the wake of the racism row with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra which resulted in his eight-match ban.

The club's response to the investigation put them in direct conflict with the Football Association but Press Association Sport understands high-level talks have taken place - and will continue to do so - in an attempt to smooth relations.

PA

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