Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is not worried that Manchester United have taken his team's top spot in the Premier League and maintains their title bid is still on track.
United's 1-0 victory over Bolton lifted them a point clear of Liverpool, who play Merseyside rivals Everton at Anfield on Monday.
Benitez's rant at United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and the row over his contract extension have raised questions over whether the Reds can handle the pressure of a title challenge.
However, the Liverpool boss insists their approach has not altered and they are unconcerned by the rise of United.
"The situation does not change, no matter what they do,'' said the Spaniard. "We have to get three points in every single game and especially in the derby.
"I think it is important to understand when people talk about the title and your position in the table that I didn't expect in August to win the title in January.
"No-one can expect this. If you keep calm and analyse the situation you will know if you want to win the title it has to be maybe in May and to have Chelsea, Arsenal, now Aston Villa, and United in the title race is normal.
"We will try to stay there and if we cannot be [top] one week then the next week we have to think about getting three points and getting ahead again.
"I have a lot of confidence in my team.''
Benitez insists the club being in contention - having not won the championship since 1990 - has given his players an extra lift as the matches begin to get more important.
They have also been boosted by the return to fitness of a number of key players and a sustained title bid remains on track.
"There is a little bit of anxiety because we in a fantastic position but we have to be calm and take one game at a time,'' he added.
"The position is very good and in May, if we are in this position, then we can be thinking it could be the year but now we have to analyse each game and try to improve.
"We have Fernando Torres, Martin Skrtel, Alvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Aurelio coming back so we are in a fantastic position and we hope to be there for a long time.''
If Liverpool are to regain top spot they face the not inconsiderable task of beating near-neighbours Everton.
David Moyes' injury-hit side have won four of their last five league matches - drawing with Chelsea - and have five successive clean sheets.
"Everton are in form and playing well, not conceding goals, so it will be important for us to play well against them and beat them,'' said Benitez, who shrugged off claims his contract wrangle would affect preparations.
"It is very difficult because they are defending well but I want to show our fans that we are really concentrated.
"The derby is very important so we can talk about football easily.''
Torres is expected to start following two substitute appearances after recovering from a hamstring injury while Xabi Alonso (foot) and Arbeloa (hamstring) are also fit again.