Liverpool striker Fernando Torres insists the Reds have made progress this season and does not believe Rafael Benitez's rotation policy has affected the team's momentum.
The Anfield club head into tonight's crucial Champions League second round first-leg clash with Inter Milan in dire need of a positive performance after Saturday's embarrassing FA Cup exit at the hands of Barnsley.
Failure to see off the Serie A champions and leaders over two legs would leave the Merseysiders with little to play for aside from fourth place in the Barclays Premier League - and leave manager Benitez clinging to his job by his fingernails.
The current malaise is a far cry from the early months of the season when it seemed Liverpool were finally poised to mount a genuine title challenge.
But despite that bid long since faltering, Torres - one of the few summer signings to justify the pre-season hype - still sees signs of progress.
'If you look at the stats, this season is better than last season,' he told The Times.
'The problem is that people asked us to win the Premier League this year.
'There is a progression, I don't think it's a bad season. We started wanting to win everything, but, as it progresses, you are forced to change your targets.'
Torres does not believe Benitez's preference for chopping and changing his side has been a factor in the stalling of the Reds' season.
'When things don't go the way one wishes, people look for things to blame,' he added.
'We have a manager with a philosophy that people knew before he came and one that has succeeded.
'It is very opportunistic to blame rotation for everything that goes wrong. It is not a problem for us. Liverpool have won a Champions League, FA Cup and so on with rotation.
'It is normal to rest. We players never want to, but if the manager says so, you have to. If everybody accepts that is the way forward, the atmosphere doesn't suffer.'