Defiant Dalglish fires back at Carragher snipers
Published 21:01 16/09/11 By David Maddock
Kenny Dalglish has jumped the defence of local heroes Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, insisting they are the heartbeat of Liverpool FC.
But the Anfield manager also confirmed that neither man is guaranteed a place in his side on reputation alone... and explained that the duo would never want that to be the case anyway.
A vocal minority of Reds fans have questioned whether Gerrard should be welcomed straight back into the team after a six-month injury absence.
Supporters have also openly criticised Carragher in recent weeks, trying to suggest the 33-year-old defender is no longer the player he was.
But on the eve of Sunday's important visit to Tottenham, Dalglish rubbished those doubters by angrily arguing: “There are players who you will always appreciate what they have done for the football club, and Steven and Jamie have done as much for the club as anyone else.
“Maybe unintelligent people need to be reminded about it. But our people know what they have done for the football club.
"Jamie is very comfortable with what he has done, Steven is too. I’m sure the people that follow us will be just as happy about their contributions.
“I don’t know if people are criticising Jamie or asking if Steven should come back, but they will do me just fine.
"I’ve got no problem with any of the boys. I don’t know what I can say to you because there is nothing that I would like to change about them.”
Carragher conceded the penalty that gave Stoke victory last week and, for a small number of political Liverpool fans, seems to have become a target in recent years.
Some have suggested it could be time to try another option, but Dalglish was vehement in his defence of his experienced centre-half and insisted there is no way he would ever select anyone just because they have been a great servant of the club.
Indeed, the Reds boss explained that one of the reasons both Carragher and Gerrard have been such fine players is that they understand more than most that reputations mean nothing in football, only performances do.
“Nobody will get picked for their history," said the Scot. "The people who have been involved with the club for a long time would expect that. They would not want it.
“They have got extremely high standards set for themselves. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be here and wouldn’t have had the success they have had.
“I don’t think they would expect to be picked because they have been here for two weeks longer than anyone else.”
Spurs are considered Liverpool’s direct rivals for a top four place, and Dalglish is desperate to go back to north London and repeat the victory his side enjoyed at Arsenal last month.
He has Martin Kelly back from injury to cover for injured England right-back Glen Johnson, and Gerrard is likely to be involved in some way, albeit as a substitute.