Aldridge demands Liverpool performance

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Kop favourite John Aldridge is hoping Liverpool's players produce a performance worthy of the shirt when taking on Manchester City in the second-leg of the Carling Cup semi-final at Anfield.

Leading by a goal going into the return leg, following Steven Gerrard's solitary strike from the penalty spot, The Reds are favourites to reach February's Wembley final.

However, Kenny Dalglish heavily criticised his players following the weekend defeat to Bolton Wanderers, and Aldridge feels the fans deserve a performance after the woeful display.

The players let the fans down big time on Saturday," Aldridge said. "It really was unbelievable just how badly they performed.

"They can go some way to making up for that big disappointment by securing the club's first trip to Wembley for 16 years.

"It's a massive game against City and there's no time for anyone to feel sorry for themselves.

"There will be a full house at Anfield and a cracking atmosphere," he added. "Regardless of what happened at the weekend, the crowd will be right behind the Reds.

"The players have to realise they are playing for Liverpool Football Club. Standards are high and they need to respond to all the criticism they've had in the right manner."

After a torrid time under Roy Hodgson, a tenure which included Liverpool's worst ever start to a Premier League campaign, the appointment of Dalglish has sparked an upturn in fortunes.

Following a season of being being very much on the peripheral of Champions League qualification, Dalglish's side are considered genuine contenders this term.

However, a run of one win in their last six league games sees the club in seventh, six points adrift of fourth placed Chelsea, giving Aldridge reason to worry over the club's European qualification prospects.

"I really fear our hopes of getting fourth place are slipping away," he said. "It looks like the players aren't interested in Champions League qualification.

"With Chelsea drawing and Newcastle and Arsenal both losing, it was a great chance to close the gap. We’re going to need a big change in fortunes to force our way in and I don’t think we’ll do it.

"If we miss out on the top four then the consolation has to be getting to Wembley and winning a Cup. To achieve that we’re going to have to show a lot more desire against City."

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