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Jan 25, 2012

Gerrard blasts Kenny axe calls

Steven Gerrard has hit out at the "ludicrous" calls from sections of the media for Liverpool to replace Kenny Dalglish, insisting the manager was 100% correct to lambast his players for their defeat at Bolton.

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Dalglish is the leader of a rebuilding process at Liverpool which could lead to a Wembley final on Wednesday if they see off Manchester City in the Carling Cup semi-final second leg. The Reds hold a one-goal lead going into the Anfield tie, with Cardiff awaiting the victors in the final.

However, it is the league form of the Merseysiders that has attracted criticism, with Liverpool currently seventh despite spending hefty fees on the likes of Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing. Defeat to Bolton prompted Dalglish to warn his players that they will be axed from the club if they do not improve, and Gerrard says the negative media reaction towards the Scot was ridiculous.

"Change happens at football clubs year in and year out because everyone is desperate for success," Gerrard said. "Change happens all the time.

"But the few whispers about a change of manager after one defeat is ludicrous to me. It's absolutely ludicrous and I just take no notice to that at all.

"For me the thing that needs to change is the people who are here need to try and not put in performances like the one against Bolton and get back to the way we've been 95 per cent of the time under Kenny which has been very good.

"When you put in a performance like we did as a group, you expect criticism especially off your manager. That is his job and we need to be big enough men to take it on the chin and show a reaction because performances like that, individually and collectively, aren't good enough for this club."

Dalglish's reaction was painted by certain sections of the English media as evidence that the Liverpool boss was losing control - turning on players that he had signed in the summer. Gerrard, though, sets the record straight.

"We didn't need telling really. I knew at half-time and I knew after the game that that hadn't been good enough. Kenny spoke in the dressing room after the game and on Monday before training.

"He wasn't angry, he just said it as it was. He didn't lose his rag or his control. He told individuals and us as a group that it wasn't acceptable. As the captain of the team that is down to me and he went through all of us.

"For me, and I hope the other lads are thinking the same, we have to look at ourselves individually and give a big reaction on Wednesday because it is a massive game."

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