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The Scot insisted that youngsters Jon Flanagan and Raheem Sterling only appeared in Saturday's Premier League loss to Wigan due to his squad's injury problems

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has warned fans against expecting too much from the club's young players.

The Scot saw his side fall to their fifth loss in six league games, as they suffered a 2-1 home defeat to relegation-threatened Wigan on Saturday.

It was the visitors' first ever victory at Anfield and heaped more pressure on the Reds boss, who has seen his team pick up just five wins at home in the league this season.

Despite winning the League Cup and reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup, fans have voiced their dissent regarding the club's league failings. However, the performances of some of Liverpool’s youngsters have provided encouragement.

On Saturday, 19-year-old Jon Flanagan made his first Premier League start since the opening day of the season and 17-year-old Raheem Sterling came on as late substitute to become the club's third-youngest player of all-time.

Dalglish admitted that Sterling would not have made the squad had it not been for injuries and made it clear that he would not rush the club’s young players into the first team.

"You just need to draw your horses back a bit," he said.

"He wouldn't have been there if we weren't in the position we were in. It is nice to see the kids get a game but it is also better for us to look after them and manage them.

"We are not going to throw kids in and destroy them, but it is nice to see them on the pitch. Jonjo Shelvey also came on and gave us a bit of a lift."

The defeat was Liverpool’s tenth in the league this season but Dalglish believes that injuries and fatigue took their toll, having seen his side fulfil three fixtures in the last seven days.

"If we hadn't had as many injuries we could have freshened it up a bit but we have not got that luxury at the moment and we have to get on with it," he said.

"The body was willing but the mind just wouldn't take them there.

"We can look at every game and we can find valid reasons [for performances] - and we are not looking for excuses we are looking for reasons.

"That was Carra [Jamie Carragher]'s third game, Steven Gerrard's third game, there were a few of them had their third game in seven days and that is a long run, especially when you have travel in between.

"Maybe that is the price you have to pay for success but for us if we want to be successful we have to be able to handle it."