Kuyt says criticism levelled at Liverpool is fair as Reds striker aims higher

Kuyt says criticism levelled at Liverpool is fair as Reds striker aims higher

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UPDATED:

12:55 GMT, 31 March 2012

Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt accepts the criticism which has been levelled at the club in recent weeks and admits the players have performed below expectations.

The Reds head to Newcastle, eight points above them in sixth, on the back of five defeats in six Barclays Premier League matches.

The latest was a dismal performance at home to Wigan last week which saw the players and manager Kenny Dalglish come under even more scrutiny.

'It (criticism) doesn't surprise me because Liverpool should always at least be in the top four or five,' Kuyt said.

Criticism: Carling Cup winners Liverpool have failed to set the world alight this season

Criticism: Carling Cup winners Liverpool have failed to set the world alight this season

'Manchester City have been in there the last couple of years and Spurs are doing really well but I think this team should be in the top five.

'That is what we expect for ourselves and that is the pressure we put on ourselves because a club like Liverpool should always be there.

'But unfortunately we are not in that position at the moment so we are just trying to change things.

'I think criticism at a club like Liverpool is always there when you don't reach the position people expect you to. That is something we have to change and we can start tomorrow.'

/03/31/article-0-1250EA8B000005DC-273_468x299.jpg” width=”468″ height=”299″ alt=”Mercurial: 20m man Stewart Downing has been in mixed form this season” class=”blkBorder” />

Mercurial: 20m man Stewart Downing has been in mixed form this season

'Great credit to them but we have to look at ourselves. I still think we are a better team than them so we have to make sure we get three points against them because no one was happy with what happened in the last two games.

'Against QPR we were cruising at 2-0 and we should have scored loads more and I still don't know how we lost.

'Against Wigan it was just not good enough, there were too many players who did not find the form they normally do and suddenly you end up with no points.

'It was really a pity for all of us but what we have to do is look forward and show on Sunday we are able to play good football and are able to win games, especially against teams who are above us.'

Dalglish insists confidence is not a problem for his players despite only two league wins in 2012.

'I don't think it is a great issue,' said the Scot. 'They do have to believe in themselves but they have shown they believe in what we are trying to achieve here.

'They have shown by their performances on the pitch that with a little bit more they could have had a lot more wins they have had. Everyone enjoys confidence, everyone enjoys winning.

'They have to get it into reality that when you lose a game there is no one happy here losing a game, no matter what the competition is.

'They came into training on Tuesday (after a couple of days off) and they weren't happy – and you could tell that by the quality they had in training.

'We have got to look after each other; everyone – the supporters, players and the staff – and make sure we get ourselves picked up. If we are not right for the game on Sunday it will be more difficult for us.'