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Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish angry at ref Howard Webb

Daniel Agger tackles Dimitar Berbatov
Dimitar Berbatov goes down under the challenge of Liverpool's Daniel Agger

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish criticised referee Howard Webb after Sunday's 1-0 FA Cup third-round defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Webb awarded United a penalty for a foul on Dimitar Berbatov and also sent off Reds captain Steven Gerrard for a lunging tackle on Michael Carrick.

"The penalty is a joke," said Dalglish. "I've seen the replay and unless the rules have changed it is no penalty.

"The other one, I cannot see that as a red card either."

Dalglish, who last managed Liverpool in 1991, was placed in charge until the end of the season following the departure of Roy Hodgson.


The 59-year-old added: "In the dressing room before the game someone said to me the game's not changed that much.

"I said 'I thought it was a non-contact sport'. Maybe I was right."

During his playing days at Anfield, Dalglish scored 172 goals in 515 appearances for the Reds and the Scot promised that a return to form is imminent for Liverpool's current attacking talisman, Fernando Torres.

"I think the players worked very hard to get a result in very difficult circumstances," added the Scot.

"Although we are not going to get too much success losing 1-0, we have to take the positives out of the game and for us that was the way the players went about their job, the work they did and their commitment to the game and the club.

"I've seen them many times this year and last year. We've got some decent players and I am happy to move forward with this squad of players."

He added: "Fernando absolutely worked his socks off and there's only so much a man's body can take. We had to take him off at the end to try to preserve him a bit.

"We've got great ingredients to build on [with him] and it's up to us to get him going. He wants to do it, you can see he does and we'll get him going sooner rather than later."

Webb, who officiated the 2010 World Cup final when Spain beat the Netherlands in an ill-tempered game, awarded United a penalty in the first minute after adjudging that Liverpool defender Daniel Agger had caught Berbatov.

Ryan Giggs scored from the spot and, afterwards, striker Berbatov insisted there had been contact, with his manager Sir Alex Ferguson backing up his claim.

"It was a penalty," said Ferguson, whose side face a trip to Southampton in the fourth round.

"Dimitar says he was definitely clipped. The replay shows he slightly touched him but the momentum is enough to bring the player down.

"There is no reason for him to go down anyway. He is not that kind of player.

"Berbatov is on the byeline, he is in the penalty box. I think it was right.

"As for the sending off, there was no doubt. It was two-footed and he was off the ground.

"Steven Gerrard is not that type of player but it was a reckless challenge. I don't think he left the referee with any option."

United centre-back Jonny Evans struck the Liverpool post with a header but the home side failed to add to their lead, despite the numerical advantage after Gerrard's 32nd-minute dismissal.

"It is amazing it was only 1-0," added Ferguson. "But sometimes, when a team is down to 10 men, you get that kind of resilient attitude.

"We should have put it to bed in the second half and it could have been three or four.

3 men and a Bebe

"But anything can happen at 1-0. The FA Cup is riddled with it.

"Fortunately, we didn't do anything stupid that would have caused us embarrassment."

United won without striker Wayne Rooney, centre-back Nemanja Vidic and keeper Edwin van der Sar but Ferguson expects the trio back soon.

Rooney has an ankle injury, Vidic a problem with his leg and van der Sar is struggling with a virus.

"Wayne came out for training on Friday and we thought he would make the game," said Ferguson.

"But he just felt it again. At that point, we said no. There was no point.

"Vidic got a knock in training. He will be OK for Tottenham next Sunday. Edwin will maybe be another week or so."

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see also
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Man Utd 1-0 Liverpool
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Dalglish back to lead Liverpool
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FA Cup fourth round draw details
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Sunday's FA Cup as it happened
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FA Cup football photos
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