x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Dalglish warns his Liverpool side against relying too much on Carroll

The side's asset can become a liability, the coach warns, if they fall into the trap of only providing long-balls to the England international.

Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager, has warned his players they cannot afford to fall into the trap of becoming a long-ball team with Andy Carroll in the side.

The 6ft 3in striker has already displayed an impressive aerial dominance in his three appearances since his £35million British record move from Newcastle.

However, in Thursday's Europa League exit to Braga there was an over-reliance on getting the ball up to him early with the three of the back four in Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel and Danny Wilson launching frequent long passes upfield.

Too often the England international received a diagonal ball 30 yards out with his back to goal and so rarely did his team-mates put in dangerous crosses that he only really threatened from corners.

It is perhaps an understandable tendency to try to utilise your greatest strength at every available opportunity but Dalglish wants to see more variety in their play.

"Andy has tremendous assets which we have to learn to get the best out of and we have got assets that will help," said the Scot.

"But he has to learn how we can get the best out of him.

"We have to fuse the two things together, play to his strengths but also play to ours and it will take a bit of time to get it working.

"The quicker they get gelling with each other the better it will be for everyone but I think the signs are very positive."

Liverpool's visit to Sunderland tomorrow will be aided by the return of livewire forward Luis Suarez, who was instrumental in the 3-1 win over Manchester United but was ineligible for Europa.

The Uruguayan gives the Reds a different dimension with his energy and ability to go past people but he has only had 15 minutes on the pitch with Carroll since the pair joined in January.

His return to the side will give the rest of the players a boost, although Dalglish has to find a way to lift his squad after their European disappointment.

"It is frustrating when you can beat a team like Manchester United and then not get past Braga but I suppose every team has their frustrations," said the 60-year-old.

"Results are unpredictable for every club. For us we did beat Manchester United at Anfield but we never gloated or dwelt on it, we took the three points enjoyed the moment and then moved on.

"The two games since then we lost away to a penalty in Braga and we drew 0-0 here.

"We could have done with a bit of luck, especially at home, but that is the way football is.

"I don't think Braga, with all due respect to them, are in the same class as Manchester United but they never conceded a goal and we never scored so over two legs, and if you don't score, you are not going to win many games are you?

"They tried as much as they could, ran as hard as much as they could but it never happened.

"We have always tried to encourage and instruct and direct in the right way and I don't think we will change that.

"I don't know how you can change it. The players are there and they have to be helped, but sometimes we make mistakes as well.

"We have to make the minimum amount of mistakes as we can and the players have to as well and we will all work together and see where it takes us at the end of the day."