Fulham captain Danny Murphy believes his former club Liverpool can mount a title challenge next season.
The Reds are in the middle of an impressive run of form having fought back up to fifth in the league following a sluggish start to the season under Roy Hodgson.
With Kenny Dalglish now at the helm and a new crop of youngsters staking a claim for first-team places, there is an air of optimism at the club that has not gone unnoticed from former Kop star Murphy.
The 34-year-old was forced to reflect on a heavy 5-2 defeat at the hands of Liverpool at Craven Cottage on Monday night, a strong statement from a team in form.
"At the moment they're playing under very little pressure," he said.
"They are not having to go out and win games because nobody is expecting them to reach a certain position.
"It will be a different ask when players are under pressure every week if they are fighting for the top.
"But with Kenny in charge, and a few more additions, they'll be pushing for the top four.
"They've got young lads coming through and doing brilliantly. The full-back John Flanagan was terrific against us, Jay Spearing is a good player.
"Mix that with Stevie G (Gerrard) to come back, plus some investment from the American owners, and I would imagine they will be up there.
"They are obviously competing with Manchester City, who'll probably spend treble what Liverpool do.
"Manchester United will spend again, Chelsea will, and everybody is putting pressure on Arsenal to spend again, so it will be tough.
"But Liverpool have got the right man in charge now and the fans are happy. You can hear how happy they are with what they're seeing."
Murphy admits he was particularly disappointed with the performance of his team on Monday night as they were beaten heavily by his former club.
The midfielder felt that the performance was not indicative of the form his team has shown this term, especially at home.
Murphy added: "A lot of us made mistakes.
"It's disappointing because since January we've been on a good run and our home form has been great.
"But we always said a top-10 finish is our aim and we've still got a good chance of that."
The club has also confirmed that academy graduate goalkeeper Neil Etheridge has put pen to paper on a contract extension until summer 2013.
The youngster, who plays his international football for the Philippines, was brought into the squad as cover on the bench as David Stockdale deputised while Mark Schwarzer was on Asian Cup duty in January with Australia.