Encouraged by Brendan Rodgers' system beginning to gel, Pepe Reina is confident that Liverpool can challenge right out of the gate next season.
After months of hearing optimistic players, management, club legends, and anyone else with tenuous ties to Liverpool talk about fourth place still being within reach this season, Brendan Rodgers finally put a damper on such aspirations by saying the club are taking the remainder of the season one game at a time.
Naturally, this means it's not too early to start talking about fourth place for the 2013/14 season, even if the word "fourth" isn't explicitly used as part of that discussion. Hot off a positive result against Wigan, Pepe Reina spoke about how the foundation Liverpool have laid this season will underpin the club's Champions League hopes come August.
"This year has been important for us in terms of getting to know what the manager wants and develop the ideas. Then we have to be ready for the very first game of next season to challenge.
"Obviously we will need some help from the board but I think the basis is well settled. We know the ideas and philosophies of the manager. It is getting better and better so hopefully we will be ready to compete."
With Liverpool's recently announced financial data causing all sorts of emotions ranging from optimism to sheer panic, it remains uncertain how much the club's leadership will loosen the purse strings in order to bring in the additional impactful reinforcements Reina hopes will be the final pieces of the puzzle. Reina may not personally have a direct line to the club's board, but the generally positive impact made so far by January's transfers should do well to convince them that Liverpool's transfer strategy is on track to give them a positive return on their investment.
Lest anyone worry Reina is getting too far ahead of himself speaking about next season, the goalkeeper adopted Rodgers' party line on finishing strongly this year.
"We are going into the last 10 games with a positive feeling. We feel we are in the right way. Sometimes the results hadn't been coming with the performances but it will be easier for us to win games playing like that rather than losing them. Listen, we are wasting our time talking about next season. We need to finish this one first."
With that refreshing sense of perspective in mind, here's to hoping Reina and company can channel that positive feeling into a win against Spurs on Sunday.