Kenny Dalglish praises Liverpool fans and defends abuse of Manchester United defender Patrice Evra

Scot was thrilled after watching his side book their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over their bitter rivals at Anfield
By Greg Stobart at Anfield

Kenny Dalglish dismissed abuse directed towards Patrice Evra by Liverpool supporters as "a bit of banter" after his side beat Manchester United to book their place in the FA Cup fifth round.

Evra captained United on his first appearance at Anfield since the race row that resulted in Liverpool striker Luis Suarez being suspended by the FA for eight games.

The United left-back was constantly booed and the subject of chanting during the game, which Liverpool won 2-1 thanks to a late Dirk Kuyt strike, while Merseyside police have confirmed they are investigating an alleged racist gesture made by one of the home fans.

Dalglish praised both sets of supports after the game as "magnificent ambassadors" for their clubs and was keen to play down the abuse of Evra.

“They were well-behaved and a great advert for their clubs,” said the Liverpool manager. “I think both sets of fans were magnificent ambassadors for their clubs.

“There was a bit of banter but it was mainly friendly and that's the way it should be. The fans are entitled to support their teams.

“The players were a credit as well. They and the fans contributed to a great occasion. A bit of banter is fine, I don't think there was anything untoward.”

Liverpool beat their bitter rivals after a close-fought encounter on Saturday lunchtime, with Daniel Agger's header being cancelled out by Ji-Sung Park before Kuyt lashed home two minutes from time.

The Reds' progress to the fifth round came three days after booking their place in the League Cup final with an aggregate victory over Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Dalglish believes his side's season is back on track following their 3-1 defeat at Bolton last weekend and has been delighted with the level of commitment shown by his players.

“It was a fantastic effort from our players after what they had to do on Wednesday night,” the Scot added. “Their commitment, attitude and desire to get the result was fantastic.

“We will see how important this week is in our season. It started badly against Bolton but we have come out on the winning side in two really important cup games.

“We hung in there and then Dirk Kuyt gets his 50th goal for the club to win the game against Manchester United - so we're delighted.”

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