x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Kenny Dalglish keeps his eyes on the prize

Decision over racism allegation against Luis Suarez pending, but Liverpool manager focused on game against Wigan Athletic.

Kenny Dalglish, right, the Liverpool manager, says Luis Suarez’s future will not affect his plans.
Kenny Dalglish, right, the Liverpool manager, says Luis Suarez’s future will not affect his plans.

Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager, has not contemplated what his team would be like without the influential Luis Suarez.

The Uruguay international is the club's top scorer this season with eight goals, and his impact since arriving in January has been pivotal to the club's form.

Suarez is awaiting the outcome of a decision from an independent panel over an English Football Association charge that he racially abused the Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

It has been suggested should he be found guilty he could face a lengthy ban, but with an announcement pending, Dalglish said it was not an issue he had given much thought to.

Asked whether he had considered what being without Suarez would mean the Scot said: "We don't have to unless he is injured and fortunately he hasn't been injured so we don't have to consider what the team would be like.

"We will just wait and see what happens."

On whether the team would play differently if Suarez, who has featured in all but one of Liverpool's matches this season, Dalglish replied: "We'll cross that bridge if we have to cross it."

Liverpool travel to Wigan Athletic on Wednesday night and Roberto Martinez, the Wigan manager, said not knowing whether Suarez would be playing was affecting his planning.

Dalglish pointed out there were other dimensions and changes to his team that opposition managers should also be considering.

"If he is identifying Luis as a danger man, then fine, but I don't see how it prevents him from planning," Dalglish said. "I don't think Luis is the only player that has to worry about whether he is playing or not. It has not affected us particularly."

Hugo Rodallega, the striker, is Wigan's only fitness concern. The Colombian suffered a knock during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Chelsea, which was his 100th appearance for the club.

The defender Emmerson Boyce (hamstring) is back in training, but is unlikely to play any part.

Dalglish has no new injury worries. The midfielder Jay Spearing serves the final game of his three-match suspension while captain Steven Gerrard (ankle) is still not ready to return from a two-month lay-off.

Craig Bellamy may be rested, having played 89 minutes of Sunday's win at Aston Villa.