Rafael Benitez was cool, calm and collected today as he prepared for the showdown with Barclays Premier League title rivals Chelsea.
The Liverpool boss admits that January has been a ``terrible'' month, but insists he feels under no extra pressure as his side have drawn seven of their last 11 Premier League games and allowed Manchester United and Chelsea to leapfrog them in the title race.
Benitez went to great lengths to explain the contentious decisions to substitute Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard late in the disappointing 1-1 draw at Wigan.
And although not wanting to go on the record, it was explained that his "crazy'' remark after the JJB stadium game was a reference to the refereeing standards in the last three league games against more physical sides Stoke, Everton and Wigan.
Benitez clearly believes his players were not given enough protection.
Far from 'losing the plot' Benitez was all smiles and full of humour.
He said: "We are eight points better off at this stage than last season. We are very positive and if we can beat Chelsea everybody will be talking in a different way about us.
"We are in our best position for the last 10-15 years. So we have to enjoy it and try to keep doing our best.
"There is no extra pressure on me. I can guarantee that I have not read a newspaper, listened to radio or watched TV since the Wigan game.
"I spent Thursday enjoying some time off with my family because I knew there would be a lot of people trying to talk about things they do not know about.''
But he accepts that Liverpool must beat Chelsea.
He added: "We showed character and quality to beat them earlier in the season, and we showed the same things in beating Manchester United here.
"Now if we can continue to show those qualities and beat Chelsea again, maybe we will be in the headlines for something positive.
"It has always been important to beat sides who are at the top, but maybe this year even more because we are very close to them.
"We are closer. Last season we were 14 points behind at this stage, but now it is different.''
But Benitez knows Liverpool's situation, despite a 15-match unbeaten run, must improve quickly.
Their downturn has come in a month that has seen Benitez launch his rant against Sir Alex Ferguson and end his contract negotiations while becoming involved in a saga over Robbie Keane's future at the club.
But he said: "It has a bad month but the only thing that I would have done differently would have been to drink more water to maybe avoid the kidney stones trouble I have had.
"But on the pitch, no. There have been very fine details that have cost us points. At Stoke in the final minutes Steven Gerrard hit a post. Against Everton we conceded a very late free-kick that should have bee avoided when they equalised.
"And at Wigan we gave away a late penalty. You cannot control everything, but we should have six more points.''
he added: "We know our players, we speak to them every day and we know the decisions to make.
"This has always been a must-win-game. As they all are. After my comments about Mr Ferguson we knew we still had to win at Stoke, those words didn't change anything on the pitch. It doesn't matter what is being said off the pitch.''
And on the controversial substitutions of Torres and Gerrard, Benitez said: "Torres was tired. We changed the wingers because we needed fresh legs, and Torres and Gerrard were the two players who were the most tired.
"Gerrard has heart and he can keep working hard on the pitch, but even he was looking tired.
"A player like Torres has to be fresh and quick, and he was not that so you have to make a decision. You have to consider the next game and you do not need to have the problem of a tired player getting injured, because that is what can happen.
"When you have an injury (hamstring) like Fernando has had, you have to do a lot of strength work in the gym to build his power.
"Then you have to give him different work to make him quicker and faster, because that is his strength.
"Now they will both be better to play against Chelsea, and the massive difference is that we must beat the other top sides.
"I changed Torres because he was tired and I wanted someone on the pitch who could keep the ball.
"Then we conceded a penalty, and I had already decided to change Gerrard. But then we needed a fresh striker on to try to win the game, so I sent on Robbie Keane. Maybe he could have made the difference.''