Kenny Dalglish
Dalglish had a turbulent time at Newcastle. REUTERS

Kenny Dalglish has praised his Liverpool squad for their impressive back-to-back victories over Manchester rivals City and United, despite the short turnaround between matches.

On Wednesday, Liverpool reached the Carling Cup final at the expense of Manchester City, after a 2-2 draw saw them progress 3-2 on aggregate.

And a late Dirk Kuyt winner saw them beat fierce rivals Manchester United 2-1 on Saturday lunchtime to reach the FC Cup fifth round.

"It was a fantastic effort from our players after what they went through on Wednesday night," Dalglish told the official Liverpool Web site.

"To ask them to come back and play on the Saturday morning was maybe pushing it a bit far but their commitment, their attitude and their desire to get a result was fantastic. I can't speak highly enough of them after that performance and result today."

The Liverpool manager also singled out under-fire striker Andy Carroll for special praise. Carroll was involved in both goals and Dalglish believes it is only a matter of time before he justifies his £35m price-tag.

"He is good in the air but we've got to develop that, he's got to develop that to work within our framework," Dalglish said. "We've got to work with him and we'll be a lot more patient than a lot of other people will, and I'm sure we'll get our rewards in the end. And we're starting to bear fruits now."

And Dirk Kuyt has lauded Carroll's performance against United and insists the much-maligned striker remains an important member of the first-XI.

The 31-year-old was Liverpool's leading scorer last season with 15 goals but has struggled to find the net this season, netting just once before Saturday's game.

But the Dutch international believes Carroll has the resilience to overcome his current goal-drought and establish himself as a crucial figure at Anfield.

"I thought Andy played a great game and he worked really hard," Kuyt said. "I know how difficult it is to be alone up front but he battled throughout the game. He was important for us for both of our goals.

"The header for the last goal was something I had told him. I said, 'Win the header and flick it on' and he did that perfectly.

"I've been a striker all my life. Whenever there's a chance I just take it as it is. I've got a lot of belief in myself and all the players around me are always supporting me, like I try to support them."

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