KENNY DALGLISH insists Liverpool must not ease off after the high of their Wembley triumph over Everton, as they prepare to return to Premier League action this weekend.
The Reds take on West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on Sunday, seven days after their 2-1 triumph over their Merseyside rivals in the FA Cup semi final.
And having, Dalglish hopes, ended their awful recent league run with an epic victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park last week, the Anfield boss is eager to ensure there is no hangover as his side look to improve upon their current eighth-placed standing.
“It’s now a case of getting ourselves back down to earth after Wembley,” Dalglish said. “We’ve not got much experience of dealing with big games and the matches that follow it. A few of the lads have been through it, but mainly we are a new team and this is a new test for the majority.
“We were delighted with the response after winning the Carling Cup (in February).
“The following weekend we went out and produced one of our best performances of the season against Arsenal. With a bit more luck we would have enjoyed a very good win (Liverpool lost 2-1).
“Now we’re just off the back of another good result at Wembley, and we want a similar response, albeit with a different result.”
West Brom head to Anfield on the back of two wins in their last three league games, a run which has all-but secured their Premier League survival for another season. Baggies boss Roy Hodgson, of course, is a familiar face to Liverpool supporters. The 64-year-old had a largely-unhappy six-month spell in charge at Anfield last season, having replaced Rafael Benitez.
Despite this Dalglish, who replaced Hodgson as Reds boss in January of last year, with Liverpool 12th in the Premier League, hopes his predecessor receives a warm reception on his first return.
“It will be good to see Roy Hodgson come back to Anfield,” he said. “I’m sure he’ll get a good reception. Things didn’t go as well as he or the fans would have liked when he was here, but he still deserves a good welcome.”
He added: “West Brom have won two of their last three games and are in a decent positon (13th) in the table. Whether that makes Sunday easier or harder for us is difficult to say. Teams respond in different ways at this stage of the season.
“We can’t let their situation affect us, we have to just concentrate on our own game and producing our best.”
Goalkeeper Pepe Reina will return for Sunday’s clash, but Dalglish paid tribute to Brad Jones, who deputised admirably for the suspended Spaniard – as well as understudy Alexander Doni – at Wembley last weekend.
“Seeing Brad do well was particularly pleasing,” he said. “I know he came on at Blackburn, but it’s been a while since he started a first-team game. Both him and Doni are a credit to themselves. They’ve both looked sharp and confident. How they’ve performed has been a good reflection of the work (goalkeeping coach) John Achterberg has done with them.”