An early own goal from Martin Skrtel condemned Liverpool to another home loss in a season very close to their worst. They are four goals short of matching their worst show at Anfield, the 24 they scored in the 1903-04 campaign.
With Dalglish opting to rest nine players including Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger, Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard with Chelsea in mind, it was hardly ideal preparation for Liverpool's second domestic cup final of the season.
"If we had won this game 4-0 it wouldn't have made any difference for Saturday," said Dalglish. "It won't affect the Cup Final but it's disappointing and doesn't mean to say it makes it right.
"The attitude and desire was not there. We can't play at that tempo, we have to play quicker than that.
"I have to take part of the blame because I wanted to give everyone an opportunity to get minutes on the pitch and a chance to push their case.
"But the performance and attitude were very poor and that's not like us. Our attitude and approach is where it went wrong.
"A lot of people have to take responsibility for that. We tried to be fair to give everyone an opportunity and stake a claim for the Final. People here have come to support us and they deserved better than that.
"I wanted to give people an opportunity to get minutes on the pitch, but the attitude was very poor and that's nothing like us. There were one or two positives but a lot more negatives.
"I am culpable too, because giving people an opportunity to put themselves in the frame for Saturday was a contributory factor.
"If you're going to go into games with a bad attitude you will get nothing from the game - and that's what we got."
One of the few players to emerge with any credit was forward Andy Carroll who improved his chances of starting at Wembley.
"It was good to see Andy back, he had a niggle at the weekend but he's back and fit and played the 90 minutes without any repercussion so that is good for us," said Dalglish.
But Carroll's performance was an isolated positive in a sea of negatives as Everton drew 1-1 with Stoke City in the night's other match, putting David Moyes' team three points above Liverpool with two rounds remaining.
Everton was denied victory at Britannia Stadium when striker Cameron Jerome scored in the 69th minute for Stoke, canceling out Peter Crouch's own goal a minute before halftime - the 1,000th goal in the Premier League this season.
Liverpool have one home league game remaining, coincidentally against Chelsea on Tuesday, and must win to avoid matching their worst ever home season in terms of league wins - the five they recorded in 1948-49.
They are also in danger of finishing outside the top eight of English football since 1953-54, a season which ended in relegation.
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