KENNY Dalglish was in the stands at the Stadium of Light last season when Darren Bent scored his “beachball” goal to defeat luckless Liverpool.
So the Reds boss was offering little in the way of sympathy to Sunderland yesterday after the Merseysiders got the rub of the green in a 2-0 away victory.
“I was here last year,” he grimaced. “And I’ve got to say that the visit this time was certainly more enjoyable than last time!
“I gather there’s a dispute about the penalty we got for our opening goal – whether it was outside the box or in.
“But I don’t really care if it was a fortuitous decision or not, I’m just proud of the reaction of my players in this match, proud of their attitude.
“They showed great discipline and it was a credit to them.
“We had a big disappointment as a club last Thursday night, going out of the Europa League, but the players showed their commitment to the club and their respect for it with that performance against Sunderland.”
The Liverpool manager felt the key to the game was the threat posed by his front two – Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez – who were partnered together for the first time since signing for the club in the January transfer window.
“There were a lot of encouraging signs,” he said. “Andy Carroll played 90 minutes on Thursday and 70 minutes against Sunderland, so he’s getting there in terms of fitness after some time out with injury.
“And I just think it could be a very exciting partnership. Luis has already come in and shown us the quality he’s got in his first few games and he showed us that again with his finish against Sunderland.”
Dalglish – who insisted that despite reports to the contrary, no contract has been offered to him or accepted by him – said he is relaxed about his future: “There’s no pressure on anyone to give me the job,” he sniffed.
“I’ve got 20 points from my first 10 league games and that’s OK – it could have been better, it could have been worse.
“All that matters is that we keep on going and try to end the season as strongly as possible
“Against Sunderland, the players showed the great determination I expect and they got their reward for it.
“I’m delighted with the result. I felt we deserved it and we just have to keep it going.”
Lucas, who became a father last week, enjoyed the “rock the baby” celebration following both Liverpool goals, and the Brazilian midfielder tweeted: “Great result and even better celebration thanks Dirk and Luis for the goals and all the team for the tribute.”