Kenny Dalglish claims Liverpool can still prove their doubters wrong and win the Barclays Premier League this season.
The Reds moved up to fifth in the table on Saturday with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Burnley, but they have already suffered two defeats in their opening five league fixtures this year, including a humiliating 3-1 loss to Aston Villa at Anfield.
That result, along with a defeat at Tottenham on the opening weekend and an unconvincing 3-2 victory at Bolton, has left many doubting the title credentials of Rafael Benitez’s side, who lost only two league games all year last time out on the way to finishing second behind champions Manchester United.
But Dalglish, who managed the club to their last Football League championship almost 20 years ago, remains convinced Liverpool can silence their critics this season by becoming the kings of England once again.
“That’s all right, let them keep writing us off,” said Dalglish, who now works with the club’s academy.
“We’ll add the points up at the end of the season and see what happens.
“Certainly when you lose a home game it is a disappointment, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a team has lost a home game and gone on and won the league, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”
Liverpool have been prolific in fits and starts this season, hitting five past Stoke in their first home game of the campaign before Saturday’s four-goal haul against Burnley, and Dalglish believes the signs are there that the players’ confidence is growing.
“We can achieve whatever we want to achieve,” he said.
“We go out in every game to achieve maximum points, or get through the cup tie, whatever is relevant. We go out on the pitch with the same determination as we have ever done to be successful.
“We’ve never shouted our mouth off, we’ve just got on with our work, and I’m sure that’s what the players are doing at the moment.
“They played very well on Saturday. (Yossi) Benayoun getting a hat-trick was fantastic for him and for everyone, I think it is starting to come together.”
Dalglish was speaking at a press conference where Standard Chartered Bank were announced as Liverpool’s new main sponsor, in the biggest commercial deal in the club’s history.
The team will wear the bank’s name and logo on their shirts as part of the agreement, which runs from July 2010 through to the end of the 2013-14 season.
Believed to be worth up to £80m over the four-year period, it represents the largest commercial deal in the club’s history, dwarfing their contract with Carlsberg, which currently brings in £7.2m a year.
The 17-year relationship between Liverpool and Carlsberg which will come to an end in the summer is one of the longest sponsorships in world sport.
Reflecting on the new deal, Liverpool’s managing director Christian Purslow said: “This partnership brings together two highly successful organisations with a really strong cultural and strategic fit.
“The sponsorship opportunity attracted a huge level of interest from a wide array of globally recognised brands and in Standard Chartered we believe we have the ideal partner to move forward and help develop our global ambitions for the club.
“It is a real sign of the progress we have made at Liverpool that we have been able to secure the largest ever commercial deal in our history.”
Purslow said that the deal would help to get plans for a new stadium back under way.
He said: “The overall financial health of our football club is a key ingredient of being able to get the stadium project back up and running.
“This is a huge step forward for the club financially and that can only be helpful to create the conditions in which we can restart the stadium project.”