Kenny Dalglish insists Liverpool are no longer reliant on two players to carry the rest of the team, as they hope to take a decisive step towards European qualification at Fulham on Monday night.
In their past two seasons most of their opponents operated on the principle that, if you stopped Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard, you stopped Liverpool. The pairing was responsible for 39% of their league goals in 2008-09 and 44% last season.
Torres's contribution to Dalglish's regime was minimal before the Spaniard was sold while Gerrard has missed most of the second half of the season through injury. Liverpool have flourished in their absence and, should they overcome Fulham at Craven Cottage and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield next Sunday, a side that were 12th when Dalglish succeeded Roy Hodgson in January would be on the verge of securing European football.
"The more attacking options you have the better it is for everyone," said Dalglish. "Successful teams are the ones with the greatest number of options going forward and no team has been successful without a good dressing room."
Raul Meireles, Maxi Rodríguez and Dirk Kuyt have contributed 24 goals while, since losing 3-1 at West Ham, Liverpool have taken 16 points from seven games to put them on course to qualify for the Europa League. Perhaps because of their European traditions, Liverpool appear more unequivocally in favour of an arduous and financially relatively unrewarding competition than Tottenham.
"The two teams who are going to the final must love it. People crave European success then get in it and don't take it as an achievement," said Dalglish who denied that the prospect of European football had galvanised his team.
"They have pride in the football club they play for," he said. "That is more important than anything else. They have had nothing to play for, other than their pride and reputation, for many weeks. They aren't using anything else now."