Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish insists winning tomorrow’s FA Cup final against Chelsea should not be seen as a defining moment in the club’s recent history.
Success in knockout competitions this season – having already won the Carling Cup – has masked problems with their league results.
Dalglish believes a second piece of silverware, having ended a six-year wait, represents progress in itself as Liverpool would become the first club to complete the domestic cup double twice.
But he knows sooner rather than later his side have to address the challenge of regaining a top-four spot if only for the revenue stream, with club accounts published this week recording a near-£50m loss.
Not that he will be mentioning that to his players.
“The players don’t go on the pitch thinking about finance, they are thinking about winning the FA Cup final,” said the Scot.
“It is an achievement to get there and a greater achievement to win it.
“It’s always special when you win a game and somebody puts a bit of silverware in your hand afterwards.
“But I don’t think it’s a defining result for either club.
“They’ve got the cup final and they’ve got the Champions League coming up so they’re fighting on three fronts (Chelsea are still challenging for the top four) to try to get success.”
With a worldwide television audience running into many millions, Wembley provides the ideal stage for Liverpool to prove some of their critics wrong.
League results may have been disappointing but they have not always accurately reflected performances.
However, Dalglish does not regard tomorrow as being an advert to showcase the club and help attract new players or even sponsors this summer.
“We have got there because we have played well, not badly and struggled through,” he added.
“Whether it is impressive to some or unimpressive to others we cannot legislate for that and we needn’t be contemplating that.”
As a manager Dalglish has yet to lose in 13 encounters against Chelsea, recording 10 wins.
This season the Reds have already won twice at Stamford Bridge, in the league and Carling Cup, to extend their winning run over them to four matches and victory tomorrow would equal a club record set in 1974.
But Dalglish, who comes up against Roberto di Matteo for the first time having done a double over his predecessor Andre Villas-Boas, is not a great believer in statistics.
“It doesn’t matter if you have never won or never lost, it makes no difference. It is what happens on the day what counts,” he said.
“We got the results because we played well and deserved to win.
“Chelsea have a different manager and the results they are getting are more positive than they were in the earlier part of the season and it is a fantastic achievement for them to get into the Champions League final with two huge performances against Barcelona.
“We know what they are, we know how good they are – but I don’t think we are too bad either on our day.
“I think everyone is nervous. The fans are nervous, the management, staff, owners, directors, everyone, but it is the same for both teams.
“If you are not nervous I think you have a bit of a problem.”
The Football Association received plenty of adverse publicity for scheduling the final for 5.15pm to maximise the television audience.
Dalglish does not agree but accepts football has to move with the times.
“Tradition in the FA Cup has always been there,” said the Reds boss.
“It is not as before when you used to get the draw at one o’clock on a Monday on the radio and there was a 3pm kick-off and you got all the build-up, the team hotels being shown and buses filmed going to the match.
“I think everyone has grown up watching coverage of the FA Cup final.
“It might be a longer day with a later start this year but I think some of the old traditions were brilliant and if we can keep them in place it will be even more attractive for people.
“I don’t think tradition is a bad thing but at the same time everything has to move forward.”