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Dalgish focus on Stoke, not Torres

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish insists speculation over Fernando Torres will not distract his players ahead of Wednesday’s game with Stoke.

The Spain striker is reportedly set for a 50 million-pound move to English Premier League rivals Chelsea, with Newcastle striker Andy Carroll apparently Dalglish’s top target to replace him.

But Dalglish said on Monday he will concentrate on matters on the pitch and insisted that his side were focused on claiming a third-successive victory.

“The most important people at Liverpool Football Club are the people that want to be here and the people we have,” Dalglish said.

“That is why the greatest concentration this week is the game against Stoke City, as we have to respect the players we have and look after them.”

“We have to make sure that our train of thought is on the game against Stoke.”

And Dalglish has backed Stoke boss Tony Pulis, who has often been criticised for adopting a physical approach and relying on set-pieces.

The Scot, who could welcome back Jamie Carragher from injury, believes Pulis deserves credit for establishing Stoke as a Premier League side.

He added: “Tony has done a fantastic job. They have a style of play that suits them.”

“There is no definitive way of playing football – there is no right and wrong way, as long as everyone plays within the rules.”

“Our football club has a style and philosophy of playing, but it’s not exclusive. That’s why football is what it is.”

“We have to be better than whoever we play irrespective of the style they play. They play the way that suits them best, and that is of great credit to Tony that he has identified that.”

Dalglish has also challenged his players to build on their back-to-back victories over Wolves and Fulham, which have lifted the club to seventh on the Premier League table.

“We are delighted with two clean sheets and two wins in two games, but we know there is a long way to go,” he said.

“We have moved a significant number of places up the table, but we know our ambitions are further than that.”

“We want to go forward and do the best we possibly can. We need to build on the two results, which haven’t done anyone’s confidence any harm, but there is a long way to go.”

Mon 31 January, 2011
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