LIVERPOOL manager Kenny Dalglish has made the bizarre claim that the club's strength in negotiating kit deals is just as vital as league wins.
Defending his record as manager, the Scot also claimed that the club "is now where it was before", adding: "What other areas are there to improve on - apart from points?"
Everton make the short trip to Anfield tonight looking for their first Premier League win there since 1999, but Liverpool's defeat at Sunderland at the weekend was the first time since 2003 Liverpool had lost three successive league matches.
However, Dalglish believes that the squad is stronger than last year while the club as a whole is going from strength to strength.
"The club is now where it was before - each one for each one, everybody in it together," said the Liverpool manager. "There are many ways you can judge a season and the best way is progress at the football club as a whole. I don't think it necessarily relates to trophies or points.
"You can measure it by how the club has progressed and where it is, from the first team to the kids. Off the pitch, especially, the club is a lot stronger than what it was."
Referring to Liverpool's six-year, £300 million deal with US-based Warrior Sports in January, Dalglish added: "You go off the pitch and see how much money we are getting through sponsorship and kit deals."
"You look at the academy and see how much better it is. You look around here [at Melwood] and most of the people have got a smile on their faces now. The squad is stronger than it was last year. What other areas are there to improve on - apart from points?"
But Dalglish knows there is nothing like a derby, with the added atmosphere of being played under floodlights, to give people the necessary lift.
"It is a massive game, like any derby is for any club involved in one," said the Scot.
"We know how much enjoyment the people get out of winning the game but the players get a lot out of enjoyment out of it also.
"The winners get to enjoy it. You get the bragging rights for the city but both clubs come straight out of that into two FA Cup quarter-final ties so you don't get much time to rest on your laurels - and you wouldn't want to either."