Luis Suarez (82 mins)
Chris Herd (10 mins)
Barclays Premier League
, Apr 7, 2012
Ground: Anfield , Kickoff: 15:00 , Att 44,321
Dalglish accepts the size of the challenge Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish accepts the task of restoring the club to their once-envied position in European football will not be an easy one.
The Scot enjoyed a hugely successful career as a player at Anfield and continued that into his first spell in charge as Reds boss.
One of the most damning statistics which highlights the decline of a club so dominant at home and abroad from the late 1970s through to the late 1980s is that Dalglish is the last Liverpool manager to win the league championship 22 years ago.
Since then Manchester United have taken their place at the top of English football and, with Manchester City having flexed their considerable financial muscle to become genuine title contenders and Tottenham adding their name to the so-called `big four` Liverpool's - and Dalglish's task - has become even tougher.
They have not helped themselves this season as, just when it looked as though they were well poised to make a late run for Champions League qualification, having missed out the last two seasons, results have collapsed.
The Reds are now eighth in the table, enduring their worst run of form since 1953, and are 16 points adrift of fourth place, with the relegation zone (12 points) closer.
"It is always difficult to get back to where they were because they were so high up," admitted Dalglish.
"But it (the method for success) has not changed too much really - it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of effort.
"We have good players who can get there but you need confidence and belief in yourself and you need a bit of luck.
"We can work as hard as we possibly can and if we do our side of it then at least we can look at ourselves and say we had a right go at it.
"At every football club it is [about] hard work but I can't believe how hard work is a bonus for people.
"I think that was taken as given that you work hard; so for us we'll work hard because you get nothing if you don't.
"These lads are genuine and honest and they have worked really hard to get any success they have had.
"We just have to keep on going and believing and try to keep our confidence up that the hard work will be rewarded eventually." With confidence visibly ebbing away with every loss, the players will find themselves tested at home to Aston Villa as ever-present goalkeeper Jose Reina begins a three-match suspension after his red card at Newcastle on Sunday.
He is likely to be replaced by Doni, the summer signing from Roma who will be making his competitive debut having played 57 minutes of an October friendly against Rangers before dislocating a finger.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish believes Dalglish is under as much pressure as any other manager ahead of the clash between the teams.
McLeish has urged his players not to have any fear against the Merseysiders - even though injuries and illness have left him without several senior players.
The Scot said: "There's pressure on everybody. I know what Kenny will be feeling. I know Liverpool are 11 players with two legs - the same as everybody else.
"That's why we should not have any fear going to Anfield. At the same time you would be thinking that Kenny will be looking for a reaction from their players.
"As I say, everybody is under pressure regardless of whether they are in the top half of the table or the bottom.
"From now until the end of the season, every single manager, every single player, will be under pressure at some time, without doubt." McLeish added: "Is it a good time to play at Liverpool? It's been a formidable place and I'm sure they will want to make it a formidable place again. In recent times it hasn't been as formidable.
"That has got to be the challenge for Kenny in the coming weeks, months and years.
"Right at this moment in time we are going up to face Liverpool, and they are going through a little bit of a sticky spell, so, quite simply, we have got to try to prolong that spell." Right-back Alan Hutton is expected to be fit after missing the 4-2 home defeat by Chelsea last weekend with a calf injury but rookie striker Andreas Weimann is doubtful with an ankle injury.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa
Last modified 17:22 07/04/12
Suarez rescues Reds a point Luis Suarez's late header prevented Liverpool from slipping to a fourth successive league defeat in the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, but it only served to paper over the cracks of another faltering performance.
The Reds went into the game on the back of six losses in seven matches, their worst sequence for almost 60 years, and with criticism mounting on both the players and manager Kenny Dalglish.
Fragile confidence was eroded further when Chris Herd put the visitors ahead early on but a much-needed win for the midlanders, for whom relegation worries have been growing, proved beyond them.
While a month ago Dalglish argued, with some justification, that results were not reflecting performances that has not been the case in the last few weeks.
Since the turn of the year they have won just twice in the league, taking nine points from 13 games as their bid for a top-four place evaporated in the euphoria of February's Carling Cup triumph.
Defeats to the likes of Wigan at home and a late capitulation at QPR destroyed any confidence the squad had and undoubtedly impacted on their form.
Their anxiety and uncertainty was not helped by goalkeeper Doni, who had previously played only 57 minutes of an October friendly against Rangers, having to make his debut in place of the suspended Jose Reina - ending a run of 183 successive league appearances.
The Brazilian failed his first test and it proved expensive as he flapped at former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock's left-wing cross in the 10th minute, allowing Barry Bannan to cut the ball back for the unmarked Herd to bend in a shot.
However, Liverpool would have been ahead by then had it not been for the reactions of the experienced Shay Given who clawed Dirk Kuyt's shot off the line after Stewart Downing's low cross picked out the Holland international at the far post.
The home side's response to going behind was slow as despite a succession of corners Martin Skrtel's header wide of the post was the closest they came.
Suarez had a valid claim for a penalty turned down when he was caught by Alan Hutton but it was not until the final minute of the half the Reds really posed a threat.
The best chance fell to Kuyt from Steven Gerrard's cross-shot but the Dutchman ballooned over from five yards before Suarez fired straight at Given.
Dalglish switched to 4-4-2 for the second half with Gerrard playing wide right and the captain almost helped deliver the equaliser.
His 53rd-minute cross picked out Suarez whose header beat Given but bounced off the far post, although it still needed the goalkeeper's quick reactions to flick the ball away from an almost impossible position behind him to prevent it crossing the line.
Villa, content to hang on to their lead, were starting to come under more sustained pressure and the Liverpool manager attempted to turn the screw by sending on Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy, effectively playing with four forwards.
But still they struggled to test Given with Bellamy, given time to bring the ball down on the left of the penalty area, driving against the outside of the post.
The woodwork was struck again in the 82nd minute but this time it actually benefited Liverpool.
Gerrard's cross from the right saw substitute Daniel Agger, on for Jose Enrique, plant a header against the underside of the bar but when the ball bounced down Suarez was on hand to nod in from close range.
Carroll headed straight at Given from another Gerrard cross before the captain's swerving shot was kept out by the goalkeeper's legs in added time.
|Player rating out of ten||Player name||Substitution||Did they score?||Player's disciplinary record||Rating|
|3||Sanchez Jose Enrique(sub 75)||6/10|
|33||Jonjo Shelvey(sub 64)||6/10|
|19||Stewart Downing(sub 64)||6/10|
|5||Daniel Agger(sub 75)||7/10|
|9||Andy Carroll(sub 64)||6/10|
|39||Craig Bellamy(sub 64)||7/10|
|Player rating out of ten||Player name||Did they score?||Player's disciplinary record||Substitution||Rating|
|31||Chris Herd(sub 72)||6/10|
|25||Barry Bannan(sub 85)||6/10|
|18||Emile Heskey(sub 57)||6/10|
|26||Andreas Weimann(sub 72)||6/10|
|38||Gary Gardner(sub 57)||6/10|
|40||Samir Carruthers(sub 85)||6/10|