LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers believes last weekend provided a "defining moment" which shows his side can compete with the best.
Trailing 2-1 to West Ham, having been a goal up, the Reds scored twice in the last 14 minutes to secure their first back-to-back Premier League wins for almost a year.
Sandwiched between was a crucial 1-0 victory over Udinese which ensured their passage into to the knockout stage of the Europa League and Rodgers sees progress. "We reached another defining moment at the weekend against West Ham," he said. "There's a golden period at the end of a game - the last 15 minutes - which the best teams can affect. "When we were down we showed the spirit and fight we have in the group to come back and win the game.
"We showed that away at Udinese - to get through in a game that we had to win. We have little benchmarks that we're setting along the way. The best teams start quick and finish strong - we did that at the weekend.
"I'm pleased with how it's evolving - we're a long way off where I want us to be, of course, but we've shown we're making good progress.
"By all accounts, Liverpool have had a disastrous start, but we're four points off the top four and if we had a little bit more luck we actually could be in there now.
"The great encouragement is - we're only going to get better."
With the top four now tantalisingly within reach Rodgers hopes his side can take full advantage of a busy month to maintain their bid for Champions League qualification.
"If we can arrive in January in and around that top four then we can really put our foot to the floor, when the confidence will be improved even more and players will be aligned with what we're trying to achieve," he said.
"I believe we can have a good second half of the season."
Goalkeeper Brad Jones has signed a new contract after admitting he did not know whether he had a future at the start of the season.
However, having ably filled in for a month when Jose Reina was injured the Australia international has earned an extended stay -- and the backing of Rodgers.
"When he came in I don't think he was too sure about whether I was going to stay or not and I had to prove to him I was worthy of being here," Jones said. "He was very honest with me at the start and said maybe things weren't going to work out.
"But he was then just as honest to come and say to me I'd done well and proved myself to him."