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Saturday, 3 March 2012

We can control our own destiny,' says Liverpool's Kenny Dalglish • Liverpool manager views Carling Cup triumph as a platform • Champions League place next target for Liverpool

Kenny Dalglish believes Liverpool's Carling Cup win has reinforced the belief they can "control our own destiny" and overtake Newcastle United, Chelsea and Arsenal in the pursuit of Champions League qualification.

Liverpool lie seventh in the Premier League and seven points adrift of Arsenal, Saturday's visitors to Anfield. Liverpool's rivals for fourth place have all played one game more, however, with Chelsea also to visit Anfield before the season is over, and Dalglish is confident his team have the quality and opportunity to claim a first Champions League place in three seasons.

The Liverpool manager said: "We can control our own destiny. We know what we have done [to win the Carling Cup] and we know what we had to do to get there. We just need to continue that. That's all we've got to do. We'll see at the end whether our points total is good or bad and enough for the Champions League. We've still got the FA Cup to play for at home to Stoke and the Carling Cup is in the trophy room. There cannot be too many upset by that. They've got the Europa League to come and if it goes better than that, then fine."

Dalglish challenged Liverpool to add to the Carling Cup but insists his first full season back in charge will not be defined by Champions League qualification.

He said: "Every time the players get somewhere, something else is put in front of them as to what would make a successful season. If we stopped right now, it has been a better season than it was last season.

"Our season has not stopped because we won the Carling Cup and I'm sure the determination and ambition of the players to push forward hasn't changed either. It remains to be seen if it's a platform. The most important thing is they won the tournament and they really enjoyed it. You could see the excitement and the togetherness when they celebrated it. The boys who were unfortunate enough not to be picked were involved. There were suits flying across the grass and everything."

Liverpool's victory at Wembley ended a six-year wait for silverware and, though Arsenal have gone seven years without a trophy, Dalglish believes their recovery against Spurs demonstrated the folly of condemning Arsène Wenger following the 4-0 Champions League defeat in Milan.

He said: "They won't be exonerated after one game but they should never have been castrated over one game either. That's what happens. We've said it before. Arsène Wenger under pressure? Look at what he has done for the club. It is a stupid profession sometimes. Gary Megson goes. Why? Arsène isn't being judged on one game. That wouldn't be correct. Just because you have a fantastic result in one game doesn't mean all your problems have gone. But if you get a bad result it doesn't mean everything is rubbish.

"They have had huge problems with injuries this season, especially defensively, and all I know is that we are in for a very difficult game."

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