LONDON - Kenny Dalglish insisted his Liverpool squad would eventually come good after Chelsea shattered the Merseysiders' hopes of a domestic cup double at Wembley on Saturday.
Chelsea's deserved 2-1 win in the FA Cup final means Dalglish will be left to reflect on a season which has raised more questions than answers about the long-term direction of his squad.
Despite a £100 million (S$200 million) splurge in the transfer market in 2011, Liverpool have endured a mediocre league campaign which has seen Dalglish's side drift way off their goal of qualifying for the Champions League.
Victory in the FA Cup would have allowed Liverpool to draw some positives from the campaign following their win in the League Cup in February.
However Dalglish cannot fail to have been alarmed at the ease with which Chelsea controlled proceedings at Wembley before Liverpool launched a late fightback following the introduction of substitute Andy Carroll.
"I think maybe they were just a wee bit nervous, a bit inexperienced at this level," Dalglish said.
"Chelsea are thoroughbreds and they've been through the course before. But the way we finished in the last half hour should give them belief and confidence that they have it in them."
Dalglish meanwhile appeared to rule out significant activity in the transfer marker this summer, saying he had confidence in the squad he had assembled.
"The same group of players will move on. Whether other players come in will not be dictated by today's result," he said.
"The same group of players will get better and will be better for the experience they've had today, and the experience they've had this season."
The Scottish legend admitted however that Liverpool had paid the price for a slow start which had allowed Chelsea to gain a two-goal cushion after strikes from Ramires and Didier Drogba.
"With a team of the quality of Chelsea you can't give them a two-goal start and expect to give yourself too great an opportunity to get something from the game," he said.
"I suppose it is credit to the lads that they went close to getting an equaliser after big Andy scored. But we just left ourselves too much to do.
"I don't think the first hour was a true reflection of the quality of the players that we had on show. Whether it was lack of experience, the situation, or whether they were just more experienced than us and they can handle it.
"They're in a Champions League final and they know how to win games. And as good as they are they still need a bit of good fortune to win games."