Kenny Dalglish has described Liverpool as a "work in progress" and pinned their impressive away form on the good fortune he claims has been lacking at Anfield. Liverpool will equal a club-record seventh successive away win in all competitions should they triumph at Fulham on Monday night, a feat last achieved in 1988, and, despite the loss of the influential midfielder Lucas Leiva for the rest of the season with a knee injury, they are high on confidence after two wins at Chelsea and an encouraging display against Manchester City.
Liverpool won only one game away in the league under Roy Hodgson in the first half of last season but Dalglish, who has collected more points away from home than at Anfield this term, attributes the transformation to little more than luck. "The players have gone about their work the same way away as they have at home but we haven't got the result our performances have deserved at Anfield," he said. "But away from home, maybe we've had at times that little bit of luck that helps you go over the line."
Dalglish's assessment is in keeping with his attempts to maintain perspective on Liverpool's run. He denied the 1-1 draw with City represented a positive result for a club with ambitions of qualifying for the Champions League and insisted improvement was required.
"We are plodding on. How the players go about their work and their quality will give them their reward," he said. "We've beaten some good teams and we've deserved it on the day. We are still a work in progress and we will continue to work. We have to remember how we got those rewards – by working for each other and playing for each other. If we stand beside each other we have a better chance. We are much more difficult to beat as a team rather than an individual."
Liverpool produced arguably their best away performance since Dalglish's return at Craven Cottage last season, a 5-2 win that included a hat-trick for Maxi Rodríguez. The Argentina international also scored in the recent Premier League and Carling Cup wins at Chelsea but has frequently been overlooked for a starting role this season.
"I'm tempted to play Maxi in every game. He has a fantastic recent goalscoring record," Dalglish said. "He is an intelligent footballer and he must have been some player five years ago when he was in his prime. He might be getting a bit towards my age now [Rodríguez is 30] but he is still a clever, intelligent footballer. He knows how to play and he knows how to finish. He's just an intelligent footballer who understands the game on and off the pitch. The same as everybody should do. The squad is more important than the individual."
Fulham (probable, 4-4-2): Schwarzer; Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, BH Riise; Duff, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey; Dembélé, Zamora.
Liverpool (probable, 4-2-3-1): Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, José Enrique; Spearing, Adam; Bellamy, Kuyt, Rodríguez; Suárez.
TV Sky Sports 1, KO 8pm.