Dalglish blames Liverpool slump on fatigue

Updated: 25 March 2012 14:53 IST

Kenny Dalglish insists Liverpool's dismal 2-1 defeat against struggling Wigan can be blamed on fatigue caused by their success in two cup competitions.

Liverpool:

Kenny Dalglish insists Liverpool's dismal 2-1 defeat against struggling Wigan can be blamed on fatigue caused by their success in two cup competitions.

Gary Caldwell's second half winner sealed Wigan's first ever victory at Anfield after Luis Suarez had cancelled out Shaun Maloney's penalty opener for the Latics.

Suarez had a second equaliser ruled out for handball, much to Dalglish's anger, but the loss means Liverpool have won just five of their 15 home league games this season, a return which has left Champions League football a distant hope for his club.

Liverpool have already won the League Cup and have reached the FA Cup semi-finals this season and Reds boss Dalglish claims that the extra fixtures that come with that success have left his players drained of energy.

"I think we looked a bit tired. If you play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, it is going to take its toll," said Dalglish.

"However you play, you still need a bit of luck sometimes and there was no rhyme or reason why the second goal was chalked off."

"The ball hit his shoulder, he played it in with his shoulder, you must have a different television to me if you think it was handball."

"But the result is not because our players can't pass to each other, it's because we've not had enough players at our disposal to give them adequate rest."

"It's a problem we face and a problem dictated by the TV schedule and maybe the fact we have done well in two cup competitions has given us a lot of extra fixtures."

"We accept progress in the cups so we have to accept they are going to be a little bit tired."

Dalglish has staunchly defended his record this season and claimed only last week that anyone who cannot see vast improvements on and off the field from 12 months ago is in need of an "intelligence check."

However, such a claim looks hollow when the latest result is taken into account.

"We will just brush ourselves down and go again," added Dalglish, whose side are now 13 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.

"We have a week's rest before Newcastle next Sunday so we will make the best of that. We just need to accept our 'punishment'."

"But I can't see the same players being able to play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday every week. That was the reason for today."

The frustration was too much for Dalglish late in the first half as he became embroiled in a verbal spat with Wigan manager Roberto Martinez as they argued over a loose ball that had fallen into the technical areas.

"He was just asking me where the nice places are to go in Spain for his holidays so I told him," joked Martinez. "But you have to understand that was just two managers who wanted to win and are passionate about football."

Martinez was less complimentary about Suarez and praised referee Lee Mason for his performance in handling the controversial Liverpool forward.

"We all know Luis Suarez is an artist at getting free-kicks for himself in dangerous situations," said Martinez. "Lee Mason was very strong today and he had to be."

"But this is a historic day for us. Wigan Athletic winning at Anfield, that's why we're involved in football, to defy the odds, defy history."

"We've been through a run of really bad luck when we have played better than we did here but not got the results."

"When you see Gary Caldwell pop up in that position you do wonder what's going to happen but he showed real composure and I thought it was fitting."

"He's a captain and rare breed, a dying breed who deserves his name on the scoresheet."

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