Kenny Dalglish relishing Liverpol derby against Everton
Dalglish expects 'emotional' derby
Barclays Premier League Venue: Anfield Date: Sunday, 16 January Kick-off: 1405 GMT Coverage: Watch live on Sky Sports 1 and highlights on Match of the Day2; listen on BBC Radio 5 live, talkSPORT and BBC Radio Merseyside; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish says that Sunday's Merseyside derby is their biggest match of the season.
Dalglish will lead out Liverpool against Everton at Anfield in his first home game since he returned as manager.
"We know how important it is for our players to get a positive result and we know how much it would lift the fans" said Dalglish.
"Walking up the steps again towards the dugout is something I'm really looking forward to."
There is something of a symmetry in Dalglish's return to Liverpool. His final game in his first spell in charge was a 4-4 draw against Everton nearly 19 years ago.
"This is a city that can be very proud of the two clubs it's got," commented Dalglish. "They've not been as successful as everyone would have liked in recent years but they are still a great credit to the city."
Dalglish, who has overseen defeats by Manchester United and Blackpool since taking charge last weekend, denied that United had supplanted Everton as Liverpool's fiercest rivals.
I've managed groups of players that have been worse than this
"Not for me. They say Manchester United v Liverpool is a derby but I don't see that - I see it as a competitive football match. A derby is best described as two teams from the same city playing each other, commented the the 59-year-old Scot.
"Despite the fact there aren't as many local players or English players these days, I don't think that dilutes any of them knowing the importance of the game."
Sunday's game comes with added pressure. Both sides are in the bottom half of the table, only four points above the relegation zone.
But Everton boss David Moyes believes he has an excellent chance of guiding his team to a first win at Anfield during his nine-year tenure.
The Toffees, who won at Goodison Park in October, are also chasing a first double over the Reds since the 1984-85 season when they finished as league champions.
"If Kenny was playing I would have to worry - because what a player he was, someone I admired as a footballer," said Moyes.
"As a manager I don't think it makes a great deal of difference - but he is also a terrific manager.
"The difference in the spending between the two clubs is a different world completely.
"But we have competed quite well with Liverpool, we have tried to be up there. The gap is probably as close now as it has ever been.
"We want to go there and try to take the points.
"I've not won enough derbies but hopefully we can try to turn that around."
Dalglish's two games in charge since his return have been an FA Cup third round defeat at Old Trafford and a Premier League loss at Bloomfield Road.
"We're going out to win the game. Where it takes us at this moment in time isn't particularly relevant. It's where you are at the end of the season when you add up the points that's the most relevant thing," he said.
Liverpool's owner John W. Henry will attend the derby match, but Dalglish refused to be drawn on whether he would be asking the American to open his chequebook.
"We have not even had a conversation about it, so there is no way I am going to pre-judge anything that is going to happen because if no players come in, you'll say I'm getting my P45, so I can't win," observed Dalglish.
Liverpool's squad looks in desperate need of new blood, but Henry and New England Sports Ventures do not have a record of splashing out on quick fixes.
Dalglish's first job may be to restore confidence amongst the players he has.
"I've managed groups of players that have been worse than this, that's a certainty. As I said before, results will get them confidence. But also the way they work, the way they go about their training, and the way they've gone about both matches," observed Dalglish.
Looking ahead to the Everton game, he added: "We understand what the derby is all about, the people will hopefully understand we want to go and win it, but they've also got to understand it's three points."
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