LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, March 7, 2011 (AFP) - Kenny Dalglish has urged Liverpool to use the momentum from their impressive 3-1 win over Manchester United to spark a successful end to the season.
Dalglish was able to savour the best result of his second spell in charge at Anfield on Sunday as Dirk Kuyt's hat-trick put United to the sword in convincing fashion.
|Dirk Kuyt (2L) scores his third goal past Manchester United's goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. AFP|
After a dispiriting opening to the season, which cost Roy Hodgson his job and prompted Dalglish's return, Liverpool are finally fulfilling their potential.
Dalglish's side are now sixth in the table and a late challenge for a top-four finish is not out of the question, while the Europa League provides a chance to end the campaign with some silerware.
The Reds boss was delighted with the way Kuyt and strike-partner Luis Suarez tormented the Premier League leaders to secure their first win over United in four attempts.
They beat United with the kind of passionate, dominating display that was routine during Dalglish's previous reign and the Scot warned his players not to rest on their laurels.
"Everybody that supports Liverpool has had a great day. The performance of the players, their attitude, their commitment, the pride they took in the football club and their own performance, that was the reason they got the result," Dalglish said.
"Dirk got three goals, he'll get the headlines, and Luis Suarez played fantastically well but the rest of them weren't too far behind as well.
"Everyone was really tuned in to what they wanted to do and they did it.
"We know it's a good victory for us. We know Manchester United are a great benchmark but our season is not finished. We want to keep going."
In contrast to Dalglish's joy, his old rival Sir Alex Ferguson trudged out of Anfield without speaking to the media as the Scot stuck to his decision not to talk in the aftermath of his controversial comments about referee Martin Atkinson following Tuesday's defeat against Chelsea.
Ferguson was charged by the FA after strongly criticising Atkinson's performance at Stamford Bridge and he opted against doing any interviews after his side were comprehensively out-played.
It is not the first time Ferguson has ignored the media and, although he will be aware his actions will be seen as sour grapes, the United boss has more significant problems to concern him.
Having lost 2-1 at Chelsea in their previous game, it is the first time in two years that United have been beaten in back-to-back league games.
United are three points clear at the summit with nine games remaining, but nearest challengers Arsenal now have a game in hand.
Most worrying for Ferguson will be the way his defence completely failed to deal with Suarez, while his midfield struggled to cope with Liverpool's pressing game.
Kuyt's opening goal in the 34th minute was down to the brilliance of Suarez, the Uruguay forward leaving Rafael da Silva and Michael Carrick chasing shadows before squaring for his team-mate to score.
His second goal followed five minutes later courtesy of an error by Nani, the Portuguese winger heading into the path of Kuyt to nod past Edwin van der Sar and double his side's lead.
Liverpool confirmed their fifth win in nine Premier League games since Dalglish returned when Kuyt completed his hat-trick after half-time.
Once again Suarez was again involved as his curling free-kick was beaten away by Van der Sar into the path of Kuyt to become the first Liverpool player since Peter Beardley in 1990 to score three against United.
There was still time for Liverpool's record signing Andy Carroll to come off the bench and make his long-awaited debut in the 74th minute.
Substitute Javier Hernandez scored a stoppage time consolation for United but this was definitely Liverpool's day.