Brendan Rodgers believes it will take time for Lucas Leiva to get back to his best having returned from a thigh injury which kept him sidelined for three months at the end of last year.
The Brazilian played his first minutes since August 2012 against Southampton on December 1 - and since then Liverpool have kept four clean sheets in five games at Anfield.
Against Norwich on Saturday he impressed again, disrupting the opposition's moves and kick-starting Liverpool attacks as his side ran-out 5-0 winners.
As far as Rodgers is concerned, there is still much more to come from the 26-year-old.
"I still don't think you're going to see the best of Lucas until probably next season," admitted the manager. "When you're out for a year, it takes a while to get back and some people will tell you it will nearly take you another six months to a year to be back at your best.
"We're just trying to get him as many games and minutes as we can. Against Norwich, both he and Steven Gerrard were fantastic."
Gerrard rifled home Liverpool's fourth when he collected a Glen Johnson pass and sent it crashing low to Mark Bunn's right from range.
The 32-year-old dictated the pace of the game from the middle of the park and showcased his extensive passing repertoire to pull Chris Hughton's side apart.
After the game, Rodgers opted for a unique analogy to summarise his skipper's fine passing exhibition.
"He was absolutely incredible," said the manager. "If he was a golfer, he'd have used every club in his bag against Norwich - short passes, long passes, disguised passes...he was magnificent.
"Not only that, there was his intensity without the ball and he was really aggressive in pressing.
"He is the captain, playing with great responsibility and cohesion within the team and really enjoying his football. He's happy, smiling and his goal was a trademark Steven Gerrard goal."
If Gerrard's assertiveness in distributing the play won him the man of the match plaudits, it was the instinct of Daniel Sturridge that ensured it would be a day to remember for the Reds' latest recruit.
On 59 minutes Jordan Henderson shipped a perfectly-weighted pass out wide to Stewart Downing, who fired the ball first time across the face of goal for Sturridge to pounce and tap home in front of the Kop on his Anfield debut.
It meant he became the first player since Ray Kennedy, back in 1974, to net on his first three appearances for the club.
"I said to Daniel that it's a real special moment to get your first goal at Anfield in front of the Kop," said Rodgers. "People would pay money to do that.
"That goal typified why we brought him in. We've created many, many chances this year and just needed someone who'd be inside the frame of the goal and the six-yard box to get a goal.
"There have been many great strikers at this club and they will tell you, there is probably not a better goal you can score - a ball played across and you read it, anticipate it and get your tap in.
"I'm delighted for him and particularly delighted for the players because when you lose a big game like Manchester United, you want to respond in your next game, and I don't think we could have done much better."