Benitez looks for Liverpool to improve
Rafael Benitez insists the 'best is yet to come' from Liverpool and their goalscoring sensation Fernando Torres.
Benitez knows the Reds must continue their winning ways at Manchester City on Sunday and then against Wigan next Wednesday to retain the momentum they need for a continued Premier League title challenge.
With Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City all dropping points this week, Benitez can sense an opportunity - starting at Eastlands against Sven-Goran Eriksson's fifth-placed side.
Torres, with 15 goals in 18 games, is a certainty to start - the young Spaniard's precision a key element for Liverpool.
Benitez dismisses suggestions that all realistic hope of the title has gone.
With the Reds nine points behind leaders Manchester United - albeit with a game in hand - the manager said: 'My team can do better, and so can Fernando.
'He has settled well in England - but he can still learn more. Our season has not been bad, but it could be better. We are in a good position. It could be better, but the best of us is still to come.'
Benitez sees plenty of signs from his team that they are capable of significant improvement.
'We move the ball quickly; we make a lot of chances - and we must keep doing this but also we must be more clinical,' he prescribes. 'We must score in key moments - that has been the area where we can improve more.
'I believe we can still win the league, but we must concentrate on continuing the way we have been over Christmas.
'Before the holiday period we hoped for a good spell; now we have six points and two wins, and we will see what happens against Manchester City and Wigan.'
Benitez expects to be without defender Sami Hyypia, who has an ankle injury, and must decide whether to risk Danish youngster Daniel Agger in his first match for three months following a broken metatarsal.
He could alternatively switch Alvaro Arbeloa into the heart of defence alongside Jamie Carragher, or draft in teenage rookie Jack Hobbs.
But even with such problems, the Spaniard still has confidence in his squad.
'Now we are a little bit closer to the top, at the end of the holiday period we may be a bit closer still,' he suggests. 'Others have dropped points - we must make sure we do not.
'We have confidence we can win away games; we have produced good away form. At the moment we cannot make any more mistakes, but if our rivals drop points like they have done we could find ourselves in a fantastic position.'
Much will depend on Torres continuing his hot streak, but Benitez still wants more from the ex-Atletico Madrid star.
He says: 'Fernando is playing well, scoring goals and showing character and quality. He has settled down really well in England and he is playing well but can play better.
'He is only 23; he can improve and learn. He can play better than we have seen so far.'
Benitez maintains he will be able to do business in the transfer window.
'We will try to find the right player at the right price. We have talked - there are no problems, because we do think the same way,' he said of himself and Liverpool's owners.
'We will continue to work, like every club, to improve our squad. We will try to do the same; if we can find the right players at the right price maybe we can do some business.
'If we cannot, we will try to improve what we have. But I believe I can go to the board and ask if the right player comes along - and I think they would say yes.
'We are not thinking about selling any of our players, because we will need them for the rest of the season.
'We have the FA Cup, the Premier League and the Champions League. We are not thinking about letting anyone leave.'