Kenny Dalglish and Steve Gerrard are well aware of the threat Manchester City poses. So they will not get carried away by Liverpool's one-goal advantage in the Carling Cup semifinal. That is best left for the fans.
The Reds ground out a 1-0 away win Wednesday. Now, 90 minutes is all that stands between them and a first trip to Wembley Stadium in 16 years. The two teams will play the second leg on Jan. 25 at Anfield, with LFC needing a win or draw to progress to the final.
It was a classic (read: textbook) performance by a road team in the first leg. Gerrard scored a first-half goal from the spot, which gave the Reds a deserved reward for their progressive approach at the outset. LFC defended the lead with conviction in the second half, as City attacked in waves looking for tying goal.
After the game, Dalglish focused the conversation on the task ahead. The Reds could be ecstatic with the lead, but the veteran manager knows it will mean little if they do not finish the job in two weeks.
"We might have a slight advantage with the goal, but that doesn't mean to say there is anybody jumping through hoops," he said. "We'll just be as professional as we can in the second leg."
It's possible that City could be in a stronger moment when the teams meet at Anfield. Star midfielder David Silva missed Wednesday's game with an injury, Mario Balotelli limped off in the first half and Edin Dzeko was making his return from injury. The three could be fit by Jan. 25, making for a tough proposition.
Gerrard echoed Dalglish's sentiments in a postgame interview. The Liverpool captain has played in plenty of two-game series, and knows the rhythm these meetings often take.
"There's no way this tie's over," Gerrard said. "We know we're in for a very tough match in two weeks' time. So the job's half done. There's still 90 minutes to play and I'm sure it'll be a cracker at Anfield."
Liverpool fans have license to show a bit more exuberance than the professionals. It's their job as fans.
Review all the action from Wednesday's game in our Liverpool Live Blog.
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