Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes their next three matches could have a significant bearing on whether they stand a chance of finishing in the top four.
The German takes his side to Premier League leaders Leicester tonight before facing struggling duo Sunderland and Aston Villa.
They are eight points off fourth place and Klopp is not ruling out Champions League qualification, but believes the coming fortnight will give him a better idea.
“I don’t think we should think too much about it,” he said. “We have an away game at Leicester and these three games will give a little sign as to where we can go this season.
“Even after these games it is not over. I think we have showed a row of more than okay performances so you can say we have a little bit more consistency even when we have made a lot of changes.
“That is what we have to bring on the pitch all the time now that we can fight for the right results.
“Top four should always be a target, so it is a target, but at the end only our performances will have an influence on this situation and that is what we should be concentrating on.”
Liverpool’s injury crisis appears to be easing with four players – strikers Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge, playmaker Philippe Coutinho and defender Martin Skrtel – due back in full training this week.
That is partly why Klopp was not particularly keen on pushing through transfer window deals once Shakhtar Donetsk rejected their £24 million offer for forward Alex Teixeira.
“Martin needs two or three days’ more time. Divock and Phil and maybe Daniel should return to training – I think Daniel on Wednesday and the other two guys on Thursday,” he added.
“Martin, I think, [will train] at the weekend so these are all new transfers and that change is good for us.”
The form of midfielder Joe Allen, who has had a resurgence in January having been a bit-part player, is also a significant boost for the German.
“For me Joe Allen was always a first-team player. Hopefully it was not a misunderstanding when he was not in the line-up a few times,” he said.
“A few months back when I first arrived he was not here as he was with the national team and before that he was injured.
“There was no doubt about his quality but he was not 100 per cent in shape and now he is.
“That is the best news. It is the next transfer for us. I like his style and he is very important for us so we have another new player now he has shown what he can do.
“I see it is really good to have him here so I wouldn’t say it was a good possibility to show how it is when you come in (to the team).
“Now I think we both agree he is in a really good shape.”
Meanwhile, one of Claudio Ranieri’s two new signings this month, Daniel Amartey, could be Leicester’s joker in the pack, according to the City boss, as the title race hots up.
Ranieri thinks the 21-year-old Ghana international’s versatility will be beneficial.
He said: “His position is central midfielder but he can play also centre-back, right-back and he can play on the flank or in the middle.
“He is young, experienced and a good player. I could use in any of those positions. I don’t know the name here but in Italy we say he is a joker – you can put him in every position.”
Amartey is not expected to be involved tonightbut he could be ready for the huge clash against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.