The Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, believes the time to judge his side will not come until the last two months of the season.
Inconsistency has dogged the team in the first five months of the campaign, highlighted perfectly by their last four matches, in which they have lost at home to struggling Aston Villa, thrashed Fulham, lost woefully at Stoke and cruised to victory at bottom club QPR.
Many have been quick to point out there does not appear to have been much progress since Rodgers took over, but he is confident there is still time to improve things.
"This is a time where you have to keep your head down, work hard and give the players every chance to perform," said Rodgers, set to return to the dugout today at home to in-form Sunderland, having missed the QPR win with illness.
"The second half of the season, particularly the last 10 games, you are working to because that is when things are decided. So you want to get yourself in a position to challenge, whether in the league or cup. I believe we can still achieve our objectives this season."
Rodgers' attempts to strengthen his squad have yet to bear fruit, with the deal for Chelsea's striker Daniel Sturridge not yet completed, while talks over the Blackpool winger Tom Ince have proved difficult.
For today's game Liverpool will be without their full-back Jose Enrique, while Sunderland are missing a defender of their own, John O'Shea. Both players have injuries to their hamstrings.
Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire).
TV Highlights 11.05pm, BBC 1.
Odds Liverpool 2-5 Draw 7-2 Sunderland 15-2.