Dalglish relishing European chance
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish is relishing the chance to lead the club in Europe, as they prepare to face Sparta Prague in their Europa League last-32 clash on Thursday.
Dalglish was unable to enter European competition in his first stint at Anfield as the club were banned for five years following the Heysel Disaster when 39 people died at the Belgian stadium in the 1985 European Cup final.
Now Dalglish says that he is looking forward to the opportunity to bring European silverware to the club again.
"Back then we played against European teams in friendlies but after Heysel we were banned from Europe for five years,'' he told Liverpoolfc.tv. "We won League Championships and FA Cups, but someone in their wisdom decided we should be banned so this is my first ever opportunity to manage Liverpool in Europe.
"Like I say, I'm looking forward to it. There was some good work done before I came here to get us to this stage and I just hope we can build upon it."
Dalglish's 1987-88 side won the First Division title and, while some claim that they would have also gone on to conquer in Europe, the manager insists that any such talk is purely '' hypothetical''.
"We could have been up there challenging,'' he added. ''We could only do what we were allowed to do and play in the competitions we were allowed to. We had some fantastic success and it was great credit to everyone involved then. Europe wasn't to be.
"Whether we'd have done well in Europe is hypothetical. People would chew the fat and discuss it. But it was irrelevant. We just got on with it and in a way it helped us.
"Maybe if we'd have been involved in Europe we'd have tripped up in a few more games. That could have jeapordised our success."
The Liverpool squad are shorn of Steven Gerrard, Daniel Agger and Christian Poulsen, but Dalglish insists that it a chance for the young players - including 16-year-old Raheem Sterling - in the side to shine.
"We are not at full strength,'' he said. ''There are a few injuries but that's part and parcel of football. We are playing some of the younger lads who played on Monday night. That's Conor Coady, Jack Robinson, Raheem Sterling and Flanno (John Flanagan). Tom Ince will also travel.
"We've got enough players to put out a team so that's the most important thing. But we've got to be sensible and realistic (with the young players)."