Kenny Dalglish praises Craig Bellamy for inspiring win over Chelsea - The Guardian

Craig Bellamy

Liverpool's Craig Bellamy, second from right, stands with his head bowed during a minute's applause in honour of his friend Gary Speed. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

The Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has praised Craig Bellamy after the Wales forward inspired their 2-0 Carling Cup quarter-final victory over Chelsea.

Bellamy returned to action little more than 48 hours after being withdrawn from the squad for Sunday's match with Manchester City after learning of the death of the Wales manager Gary Speed.

The 32-year-old stood with his head bowed during the minute's applause held at Stamford Bridge in remembrance of Speed, and in the second half produced a memorable performance, setting up goals for Maxi Rodríguez and Martin Kelly as Chelsea were swept aside.

"Craig is a fantastic footballer who had a hugely disappointing day on Sunday. He regarded Gary Speed as a mentor," said Dalglish. "It was great for the wee man, making the first goal. For the second he took the free-kick. He told Martin to leave it, it was going in!

"I don't know if we took Chelsea apart but we were delighted with the way we played. We've had a good day and we deserved to go through."

Dalglish again criticised competition organisers for the scheduling of matches that forced Liverpool to play two games in three days.

"The way we're progressing is more significant than reaching the semi-final of a cup that's been cheapened by the actions of the people who run it," he said. "But that doesn't mean to say we wouldn't love to win it. We've got our reward and we'll look forward to the next game.

"Three teams in the quarter-finals have problems with fixtures. Do us a favour. I'm not clever but I think I could have avoided that. The solution is to get someone a brain."

The Brazilian midfielder Lucas was taken off with a knee problem, but Dalglish refused to speculate on the severity of the injury.

"Lucas has damaged his knee, we don't know what the problem is. We'll get it looked at and take it from there. Rather than speculate we'll wait until we get a medical update. We'll let everyone know in due course."

30 Nov, 2011

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