Dalglish confident over semi sensitivity

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is confident the FA will ensure their Wembley FA Cup semi-final does not clash with the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The Reds booked their place in the last four with a 2-1 win over Stoke at Anfield yesterday and the games are scheduled to be played on the weekend of April 14 and 15, the latter date being exactly 23 years since the death of 96 fans at the Sheffield ground.

Liverpool have always had special dispensation to avoid matches on that date and it is understood the club have already contacted the FA.

“We won’t play on the 15th. The FA and UEFA have always been exemplary and very supportive, and that’s great credit to them,” said Dalglish, whose side could face near-neighbours Everton at Wembley if they come through their replay at Sunderland.

“I don’t think it’s even worth a line in a paper that we might play on the 15th because we won’t. We’ve never played on the 15th before, have we? Why would they change now?”

Dalglish will take his side back to Wembley less than two months after their last visit when they lifted the Carling Cup.

But they had to work hard to get there and two quality goals from Luis Suarez and Stewart Downing, either side of former Reds striker Peter Crouch’s equaliser, did the job.

“It was as difficult as I expected. They started really competitively at a high tempo for first 20 to 30 minutes and we had to match them,” added the Scot.

“Pepe Reina was not too busy but they are always a threat from set-pieces and throws.

“I think it was a fantastic performance in many ways for us. It was not the best in terms of how we passed the ball but the way we competed and put our bodies on the line set an example for everyone.

“It shows what it meant to them to get through this tie.

“We scored two really good goals from Luis and Stewart which just got us over the line.”

Dalglish did not think having been to Wembley already this season made any difference to his team’s desire to return.

“It is the same incentive for everyone to get to Wembley,” he said.

“Although we have been there already this season we weren’t any less hungry for it.

“We know we play Everton or Sunderland but whoever we get is going to be a difficult game.

“Merseyside will be hoping Everton get through and they can all have a day out again but it is a real difficult place to go and get a result at Sunderland.

“But that is not our problem – that is theirs to sort out.”

Stoke boss Tony Pulis, whose side were FA Cup runners-up last year, was disappointed not to have given Liverpool more of a test.

“In the first half we started a bit sloppy and then got into the game but we are disappointed Suarez comes up with a bit of magic to give them the lead,” he said.

“Luckily we got our goal and I thought we were unlucky to not come in (at half-time) winning the game.

“In the second half we gave them a leg up with the goal, which was a poor one to concede, but when you are playing against one of the top four or five teams in the country they punish you and that is what they did.

“But you can’t fault their effort and honesty.

“Good luck to Liverpool, I hope they do well in the next round.”

LIVERPOOL: Reina, Kelly (Coates 89), Carragher, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Maxi (Kuyt 61), Gerrard, Spearing, Downing, Suarez (Henderson 89), Carroll.

STOKE: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Shotton (Pennant 61), Whitehead (Delap 74), Whelan, Etherington (Jerome 72), Walters, Crouch.

REFEREE: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

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