Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has defended his record at the club, claiming that he has transformed the Anfield side from a “six (out of 10) to an eight or nine”.
The Spanish boss insists there have been huge improvements since he took over in 2004 and that he has restored pride among the staff and fans.
“The difference between the club before and now is massive in terms of money, the value of the squad and the pride of the fans,” the Liverpool boss said.
“When I arrived here the club needed to win and the people had been talking about [winning] the championship for 19 years.
“We won the Champions League (in Benitez’s first season) after 21 years and we are the only club in England that has the trophy [to keep] for five wins. As a club we have pride again and that is important.”
Liverpool have endured a difficult campaign with the club currently lying seventh in the Premier League, 14 points behind leaders Chelsea. Early exits from the Champions League, Carling Cup and FA Cup have also served to heap the pressure on Benitez.
There appears to be a growing campaign for Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish to become involved in a more hands-on role, and the Spaniard admitted he had spoken to Dalglish about the fortunes of the club.
“We talk sometimes but he is with the academy so we talk about how the players are doing there but the other day was just a short conversation,” Benitez said.
“But we were talking the other day and it was interesting because we were talking about football and how the club was improving and the difficulty of going one step forward at this level.
“We were speaking about taking short steps. That is the difference between being at the level we are now and being a little bit better.
“This shorter step is the most difficult. It is true we have improved from a six (out of 10) to an eight or nine. To go to nine/10 that is very difficult.”
Liverpool meet Tottenham at Anfield on Wednesday and a win would put them just a point behind their fourth-placed visitors and back in Champions League qualification contention.
“If we can win against Tottenham the fans will be happier and the race for fourth place will maybe be easier,” Benitez said. The main thing now is to improve and have more confidence and the only way to do that is by winning games.
“I was really pleased with the team-work and character the team showed the other day [at Stoke]. We needed to show this character. We want to win and if we can we will try to play well but when you don’t have confidence it is important to get the result each time.”