Kolo Toure is confident Liverpool will make up lost ground on their rivals for a Champions League place.
The Reds missed the chance to close the gap on the Premier League's top four as they were held to a goalless draw by a determined Sunderland side who restricted their hosts to very few opportunities.
With manager Brendan Rodgers having instilled a slightly more defensive approach in recent weeks - which has had the desired effect as they are now unbeaten in four matches in all competitions having lost their previous four - it has made it tougher to break down sides, particularly at home.
Having just edged past Stoke last week they could not manage a similar feat against the Black Cats but, although he watched another opportunity to stake their claim for a Champions League spot slip by, Toure is optimistic things will continue to improve.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game. They defend very well, they showed that against Chelsea (earning a goalless draw last weekend)," said the Ivory Coast defender, who now turns his attention to tomorrow's must-win Champions League match at home to Basle.
"At the end we have one point, which is hard to take but this league is tough and every team fights - Newcastle won against Chelsea which shows this league is really difficult.
"It is better but last season we did much better than that. We have had a difficult start but we are catching up slowly and surely. There is more work to do, definitely.
"Last season we were outstanding in every area and going forward it was amazing, defensively we were strong, but this season has been difficult.
Saturday's draw means Sunderland have now lost just one of the last five and, of the six goals they have conceded in that time, four were against Manchester City in midweek.
"On a positive note, we are becoming a very difficult team to play against; we stopped Chelsea from scoring last week and now we've stopped Liverpool from scoring at Anfield," said visiting manager Gus Poyet.
"That's a credit to the players and the way they've been playing.
"The team have been defending well at the back and really worked their socks off and then, up front, we've shown confidence to get forward and create chances to score goals."