Steven Gerrard insists the Liverpool players will give everything they can to make amends for Saturday's poor showing in the 3-1 defeat to Bolton Wanderers, as attention turns to cementing a place in the season's first showpiece final.
Gerrard is confident that his teammates can respond to the stinging words of Kenny Dalglish following the weekend loss, and has backed the club to bounce back in emphatic style by booking their place at Wembley.
"It was definitely justified," Gerrard told the official Liverpool website. "When you put in a performance like we did as a group you expect criticism, especially from your manager.
"Kenny spoke in the dressing room after the game and on Monday before training. He wasn't angry, he just said it as it was. He didn't lose his rag or his control.
"He told individuals and us as a group that it wasn't acceptable. As captain of the team that is down to me and he went through all of us.
"We didn't need telling really. I knew at half-time and I knew after the game that that hadn't been good enough. Maybe the lads had one eye on this and one eye on that.
"At the beginning of the season the big objective for this club was top four so if you look at it that way, Bolton is bigger than Manchester City."
The Liverpool captain was frank and honest in his assessment of the team's display in the weekend's Barclays Premier League encounter at the Reebok Stadium, suggesting that the newer players in the squad will learn quickly that under-par performances will not be tolerated by the fans or the coaching staff.
"There is no good time to perform like that when you play for this club - you have to win every game," he added. "The people new to the club will appreciate and understand that a bit more after a performance like that. You can't do it here.
"The fans won't accept it, [and] they don't deserve it. It's not allowed. Otherwise you get criticised by your manager, like we have all experienced.
"I have been here a long time and experienced days like that and the important thing is to move on from it fast. If we perform like that against Manchester City, there will be no Wembley trip."
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