Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish urged his players to deal better with their frustration after a stormy 2-0 defeat at Newcastle.
Goalkeeper Jose Reina was sent off nine minutes from time for head-butting defender James Perch, and £35million striker Andy Carroll, who endured a miserable return to his former club, headed straight down the tunnel having aimed a volley of abuse at his manager when he was replaced two minutes earlier.
Reina will miss the FA Cup semi-final against Everton as a result of his sending off, and his side now find themselves 11 points adrift of Newcastle and a point behind Merseyside rivals Everton in the race for sixth place in the Barclays Premier League.
“We started well enough. We passed and moved and looked pretty threatening, but obviously, it ended up with a lot of frustration and disappointment” said Dalglish.
“The frustration and disappointment resulted in the actions Pepe (Reina) took when he got a deserved red card.
“Also when Andy came off and went up the tunnel, he was disappointed with the way the game was going, not necessarily for himself, but for the team, and the frustration took him up into the dressing room.
“We don’t have a problem with people showing their desperation or disappointment or frustration, but we need to channel it better than we have done.
“We could have had a penalty kick in the first half and that would have been them down to 10 men, but we never got it.
“We’ve just got to carry on with ourselves. We’ll try and remain calm and try to sort out the problems we have to get ourselves back in the way we want to be playing.
“There were lots of times we did create openings, but we’ve got to take them. We’ve got to believe in ourselves and believe in what we’re doing. If we can do that, then we’ll have a better opportunity.”
Asked about the Andy Carroll red card for diving Dalglish said:
“We’ve no qualms about when Andy went down under the goalkeeper either. I thought it wasn’t a penalty kick and that Andy was losing his balance anyway before he reached the goalkeeper, and so if he had got past him I think he would have fallen over.
“We don’t have a problem with that. Maybe we have a problem with the yellow card because I don’t think he was intentionally trying to get a penalty kick.”