Stoke manager Tony Pulis today lent his backing to Rafael Benitez - and insisted the Reds' injury problems have been the cause of their problems this season.
With Fernando Torres ruled out for six weeks and Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun also casualties of the midweek Cup defeat to Reading, Benitez will be forced into changes for this weekend's clash at the Britannia Stadium when the Reds will be looking to get back on track with a morale boosting victory.
But Pulis is taking nothing for granted against a club he considers to be one of the best in world football.
"I was at the game in midweek," he said. "There was no Pepe Reina who is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and no Javier Mascherano who is the best holding midfielder in the world.
"They were missing Glen Johnson and then Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres went off. You are talking about being without five of your best players. Take five top players out of any club in the world and see how they perform.
"Rafa has been very unfortunate with injuries this season. He's been unfortunate that even when those players have been playing they haven't been at 110 per cent like they were last year."
Despite Liverpool's current injury problems, Pulis is taking nothing for granted come 12.45pm on Saturday.
He added: "We are expecting a difficult game. With all the stick they have taken they will come here like a wounded animal.
"We are in the Premier League to play against sides like Liverpool, a side synonymous all over the world with winning titles.
"They are a fantastic football club and we look forward to welcoming them and playing against such a great club and great players."