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Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish refuses to rule out top-four finish

Reds boss remains bullish after defeat that leaves his side trailing fourth-placed Arsenal by 10 points as finishing line in race for Champions League moves into view

Kenny Dalglish refused to rule out a return to Champions League football despite Liverpool's 1-0 defeat at Sunderland.

A goal by on-loan Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner means Dalglish’s men still trail the revitalised Gunners by 10 points but the Scot declined to admit defeat in his quest for Champions League qualification.

“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 at his post-match press conference.

“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 [done] 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.

“It is a great credit to the lads that have come in – the seven new lads – to have put something on the board in their first season. There are not many places where there are that many changes and they get success like that.”

Dalglish, whose side face neighbours Everton at Anfield on Tuesday night, refused to criticise his players following a lacklustre performance on Wearside.

"I don’t think it was much of a game,” Dalglish added. “It was always going to be a bit of good fortune that decided it. I didn’t think anyone was going to produce a bit of brilliance to win the game.

“We matched all the attributes that Sunderland have and they have been on a great run. There was nothing much in the game other than the bit of luck that decided the game. It never happened for anybody.

“I don’t think it was much of a game. It was just a bit of luck that was the difference between a draw and a victory and Sunderland got the victory.

“Although we lost today we matched them and then when we went behind I thought there was a good reaction for everybody to try and rescue something from the game.”

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