Dirk Kuyt has warned Liverpool's title rivals that the Anfield team will get "better and better'' as the race for Premier League top spot hots up in the second half of the season.
The Holland forward was rested at the weekend for the FA Cup third-round win at Preston, but is certain to be recalled when the league leaders go to struggling Stoke on Saturday evening.
That trip gives Liverpool the chance to gain some revenge for one of their poorest performances of an improved season, with Stoke managing a 0-0 draw at Anfield back in September with an ultra-defensive display.
Liverpool are on an 11-game unbeaten run in all competitions, and will not want to slip up at the Britannia Stadium in the same way that Arsenal, Aston Villa and Tottenham have done during this campaign.
Kuyt said: "The important thing for us this season is that we have had a better start than in previous seasons.
"We've had some new players in the squad who have made us better but the other players have all been together for a few years now and because of that we are only going to get better and better.''
Kuyt underlined how much the players want to erase the memory of the dropped points against Stoke earlier in the season.
He told Liverpool's website: "It is great to be top of the league. We have had a good first half of the season but there is still another really important half to play.
"At the moment it is not necessary to talk about the league title. You can talk as much as you want but if you are not at the top at the end then it does not matter. It is better just to keep focused and concentrated on your next game.''
There is even an outside chance that Xabi Alonso could have recovered from the foot injury which required seven stitches after the Preston victory, however he is more likely to return on January 19 for the first of the two upcoming derby clashes with Everton.
Rafa Benitez said: "Xabi trained yesterday but the problem is he had seven stitches so clearly it depends if he can put boots on and kick the ball.
"For running and training he is okay but we have to decide at the end of the week about his boots.
"If he can kick a ball he could be available for Stoke but we will have to wait and see."