King Kenny keen to build

BY foxsports • May 21, 2011

A place in the Europa League seemed a distant hope when he succeeded Roy Hodgson in January with the team 12th in the Premier League, seemingly with more worries about the bottom of the table than the top. But if they can get a better result at Aston Villa than Tottenham do at home to relegation-threatened Birmingham on Sunday then a 12th successive season of European football will be secured. Dalglish, however, will be focused on what improvements he can make to the team for next season rather than congratulating himself on turning around a faltering campaign which had seen the club drop into the bottom three at one point. "I don't think we need to reflect, I think we need to sit down and have conversations with people we trust - both for their integrity and judgement in football," he said. "We could sit and reflect but we know most of the answers now." Dalglish joked that signing a three-year-contract last week had not done him any favours in terms of results - having lost to Tottenham last Sunday. And he said it was not even much benefit in terms of helping the club move forward as plans had already been put in place for next season before his position was confirmed, although once the side started winning that was a mere formality. "The planning was going on any way, irrespective of who was coming in because you can't leave it until the last minute," he added. "For training and some of the pre-season matches, planning had to be done. "If you're sitting in this chair you've got to make the decision about what you want to do and when you want to train. "But regarding players, there's only one person who can decide that, and that's the manager. "That's something we need to come to terms with and get our skates on with to make sure we get to the right players." The defeat to Spurs put Harry Redknapp's side in pole position to claim the final Europa League spot as they now lead by a point, although they have a worse goal difference. Tottenham will be expected to win at home but Dalglish said that game was of little concern to him and his players. "Everyone knows the results from most matches whether it's the first, last or middle game of the season, you know what's going on at most places," he added. "It'll be no different on Sunday but we'll concentrate on our own game and see if we get any favours from somewhere else. "The most important thing for us is to win the game and see where it takes us. "If we're in the Europa League we're in it, if we're not we just have to get on with it." Dalglish will not go head-to-head with former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier at Villa Park because of the Frenchman's convalescence after a recent health scare but he will face his assistant, ex-Reds midfielder Gary McAllister. "The illness to Gerard doesn't help but they are both fantastic footballing people and they've done the most important thing - keeping Aston Villa in the Premier League," said the Liverpool manager. "I'm sure Gary would much rather have Gerard in the role he was meant to be in when he went there, but fate took over. He's done well to keep them up. "Villa had a fantastic result last week at the Emirates (winning 2-1) and I'm sure they'll want to finish the season on a high. They'll be well up for the game." Midfielder Raul Meireles returns to the squad after missing last week's defeat with a minor injury. The Portugal international's recovery may cost £35million striker Andy Carroll his place in the starting line-up as it would allow Dalglish to reunite Dirk Kuyt with Luis Suarez. As a pair the two forwards have formed a profitable partnership in recent weeks and without Kuyt's energy up front Liverpool were unable to effectively carry out their high pressing game against Spurs as Carroll does not possess the same attributes.


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