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Dalglish blames international games for tired Liverpool


Dalglish blames internationals for tired Liverpool

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish said the midweek international games undermined his team's attempts to beat Wigan in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Reds lost defender Daniel Agger to injury before kick-off and were below par during the 1-1 draw at Anfield.

"You can see the legacy of the midweek friendly internationals on a lot of the players," said Dalglish. "There was that little bit of an edge missing.

"We're unhappy we've drawn but we went out there and tried the best we could."

Liverpool also fielded Glen Johnson, who played in England's 2-1 win in Denmark, Lucas, who Brazil fielded in the 1-0 loss in France and Dirk Kuyt, who was involved in the Netherlands 3-1 victory over Austria.

I felt we deserved the point for the roles we had to go through and the players deserve huge credit

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez

Dalglish's men failed to capitalise on a first-half lead given to them by Raul Meireles, who played in Portugal's friendly defeat in Argentina on Wednesday and had to be substituted just after half-time because of illness.

Wigan's Steve Gohouri appeared to be offside when he prodded home midway through the second half but the goal was allowed to stand and the Latics earned a deserved point.

The goal is the first Liverpool have conceded in over seven hours of football and the draw brings to an end a run of four successive wins for Dalglish's side.

"Obviously we are disappointed not to take the three points and with a bit of luck maybe we would have, despite the performance not being as good as it has been in the past," said the Scot.

"I think there were three or four occasions in the first half we would have been in but the sharpness was just missing a bit, which is understandable.

"I think Wigan may have been a bit aggrieved if they had gone away without a point but Luis [Suarez] hit the post twice and their goal was offside - these things happen.

"We just have to brush ourselves down and get on with it. It's not been too damaging. We'll keep going."

Uruguayan striker Suarez - making his first start since his £22.7m move from Dutch club Ajax - was lively and struck the woodwork with a curling shot in the first half and a 20-yard free-kick after the break.

"He loves to score goals and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet," stated Dalglish.

"In normal circumstances maybe we would have taken him off because he's not had a game for a while.

"It probably pushed him that bit too far. We were just hoping he might get us a goal."

Agger, who scored Denmark's goal in the 2-1 loss to England on Wednesday, missed Saturday's game after injuring an abductor muscle prior to kick-off.

Gerrard missed the game because of the thigh injury he picked up during last Sunday's 1-0 win at Chelsea, the injury that caused him to miss England's friendly.

Anfield draw will breed confidence - Martinez

"Both Daniel and Steven will be days rather than weeks," revealed Dalglish. "Obviously we've got the Europa League on Thursday, whether they are fit for that, we'll just have to wait and see.

"We've not got a game after that until the following Thursday so we'll see how they are and go from there."

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez paid tribute to his players for fighting back to earn a point, even though it was not enough to prevent them ending the day in the relegation zone because of an inferior goal difference to West Brom.

"If you go 1-0 down after playing well that is really difficult but I was really pleased in the first half," said Martinez, whose side have 27 points from 27 games.

"We had long spells of possession but we probably didn't show that real belief that we needed to show against a team like Liverpool.

"But going into half-time with that feeling we could do a little bit better, I thought the reaction was great.

"I felt we deserved the point for the roles we had to go through and the players deserve huge credit."

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see also
Liverpool 1-1 Wigan
12 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Saturday football as it happened
12 Feb 11 |  Football
Saturday's football photos
12 Feb 11 |  Football

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