Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson believes his side are more than capable of securing a top-four finish this season and their chances of qualifying for the Champions League should not be written off.
The Reds head into Wednesday night's game at Wigan looking for a fourth successive Barclays Premier League victory, with confidence soaring after the 2-0 win over leaders Chelsea on Sunday. They are only five points off fourth place, however, unlike predecessor Rafael Benitez, Hodgson will not be "guaranteeing" a top-four berth.
"I don't wish to play down our chances but I think it is unfair to ask coaches like myself, who have had a bad start to the season and fallen way behind, whether they will be in the top four," he said. ""It is all to play for at the moment and I certainly wouldn't write us off."
He added: "On the other hand, being five points adrift is clearly not where people want to be."
"My answer will only set me up for ridicule later on. I would like to really discuss our top-four potential when we can really see whether it is a truly viable proposition or not.
"I'll keep my powder dry and you can happily question me with six games to go and I'll give you the intelligent answer.
Although he is reluctant to say it outright, Hodgson believes his team have turned a corner after a disappointing start saw them take just six points from their first eight matches and drop into the bottom three. He knows this is a crucial period to regain lost ground, but is acutely aware the winning run could end as quickly as it began.
"Everyone is working hard to make sure we try to become a better team, not just a group of talented individuals, because in this league you need that," said the 63-year-old.
"The mindset has always been there. We had a bad start and things weren't going our way and we were a little bit unlucky in one or two games.
"We have always had the feeling if we can get our players fit and we can get our best players out there we are capable of giving teams a very good game."