Jay will stay this way! Dalglish backs Spearing on his return from three-game ban
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will welcome Jay Spearing back into his squad after suspension by telling the combative midfielder not to change his game.
The 23-year-old was sent off against Fulham earlier this month after he cleanly won the ball in a tackle with Moussa Dembele but caught the Cottagers forward with an exaggerated follow-through.
His sending-off provoked a furious response from his team-mates and landed the club with a Football Association misconduct charge for failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion.
Seeing Red: Jay Spearing was sent off following a tackle on Dembele
Spearing”s return adds greater defensive stability to the squad in the season-long absence of Lucas Leiva, who has been sidelined after cruciate knee surgery.
And Dalglish is delighted to have the academy graduate”s combative qualities at his disposal again and sees no reason for the player to tone down his approach.
“There was no maliciousness in his tackle. He was totally focused on winning the ball,” said the Scot ahead of the Boxing Day visit of bottom-side Blackburn. “He did win the ball but his momentum came through and made contact with Dembele.
“It was maybe over-enthusiasm but that is not something you”d complain about in football – at that age you”d expect him to be. I”m sure he”ll be more knowledgeable for his experience but there is nothing he needs to change greatly.
Backing: Boss Kenny Dalglish has every faith his team will continue their progress
“Everybody”s character is different but character is what makes you successful – and the wee man has certainly been successful here. We don”t intend – or need to – change the boy”s character.
“He just needs to be a bit more mature and I”m sure the three games (suspension) has taught him that.”
Dalglish said, with a packed festive programme ahead, Spearing”s enforced rest may turn out to be a positive as he looks to rotate the squad.
“It was disappointing to lose him because he was doing really well,” said the Reds boss. “He”s served his punishment and maybe that”s an advantage with the games coming quite quickly.
“But he”s got nothing to prove to us – we know what Jay can do, we know what he”s about and he”s done very well for us in the past. There is no reason to think he”s not going to do well in the future.”
Dalglish, his coaching team and the club”s medical staff will keep a watchful eye on the players as they prepare for a run of nine matches in 36 days up until the end of January.
But the manager will not be looking beyond Monday”s fixture as he looks for the side to get back to winning ways after a goalless draw at Wigan on Wednesday.
“Every game is a pivotal point and for us it”s important we get as much as we can from every game, whether that comes within three days or 10 days of each other doesn”t make any difference,” he said.
“We have a busy schedule of games which demands a very strong squad and I think we”ve got that.
“We take every game as it comes and we look at the last one to see how the lads have recovered from it. It”s more poignant now because the games are coming thick and fast.
“The quicker they recover the better chance they have of playing and not every player recovers at the same time as everyone else.
“The most defining factor is it”s a great experiment to find out how strong your squad is. I think we have got a strong squad and I think we may be a bit fortunate than others with regards to team selection.
“If we can get a little bit of fortune on the pitch we will get good results.”