LIVERPOOL MANAGER KENNY Dalglish refused to rule out a return to Champions League football despite his side’s 1-0 defeat to Sunderland.
A second-half goal by on-loan Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner was enough to keep Dalglish’s side 10 points behind the Gunners in the last Champions League qualification place. But Dalglish insists his side are not out of the running to feature in Europe’s premier club competition next season.
“We will say what we did with the very first game of the season – that we will play all the matches, count the points up and see where we finish off,” Dalglish told reporters.
“If we were to get fourth spot it would be fantastic for the football club but winning the Carling Cup was fantastic, getting into the sixth round of the FA Cup is more than we have in a little while.
“I don’t think the performances we have had especially at home have merited the number of points we have got but we just need to keep going and do what we do well, keep our mouths shut and don’t feel sorry for ourselves and try to get as many points on the board as we can.”
Sunderland counterpart Martin O’Neill was delighted that his side could come out on top from an even match in which both sides struggled to create chances in front of goal. The victory saw O’Neill’s side move back in to the top ten of the Premier League, and the Northern Irishman felt his side were worthy of the three points.
“I thought we played very strongly today – we had to,” O’Neill said. ”It was a game where there were very few chances, but it was very entertaining nonetheless.
“The crowd got behind us and stayed with us, which was great – very encouraging. Eventually, I thought we just about deserved to win the game. It was probably even but we had a chance and Bendtner took it and I’m delighted we got the win.”