Brendan Rodgers believes his Liverpool side are reaching milestones on the road to success and described himself as 'quietly pleased' with what the Reds have achieved so far this season.
The Northern Irishman guided his team to three victories in eight days last week - a run of results which ensured Liverpool qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League and reduced the gap to fourth place in the Barclays Premier League to four points.
Rodgers insisted his squad will not rest on their laurels, though, and the boss is confident that his methods will help the Reds continue to progress during the second half of the campaign.
"You're always striving to have more and be better. But as I sit here today, having experienced the last six months, I'm quietly pleased," the manager explained to Liverpoolfc.com.
"That's a big credit to the players - they have been absolutely fantastic. They have kept going through the early stages, which were difficult because we're trying to form something here and that's never easy.
"Our relationships are getting better all the time, our understanding on the field is getting better."
A 1-0 victory over Udinese in Italy last Thursday extended the side's European journey into 2013 and preceded a comeback triumph against West Ham in the league on Sunday - results which the boss feels were landmarks.
He added: "We reached another defining moment at the weekend against West Ham.
"There's a period - a golden period at the end of a game, the last 15 minutes - which the best teams can affect. When we were down we showed the spirit and fight we have in the group, to come back and win the game.
"We showed that away at Udinese - to get through in a game that we had to win. The pressure on that game was that we had to win or get knocked out, and we won the game and kept a clean sheet. We have little benchmarks that we're setting along the way.
"The best teams start quick and finish strong - we did that at the weekend. We started really well and finished the game strongly.
"I'm pleased with how it's evolving - we're a long way off where I want us to be, of course, but we've shown we're making good progress.
"By all accounts, Liverpool have had a disastrous start, but we're four points off the top four and if we had a little bit more luck we actually could be in there now. The great encouragement is - we're only going to get better."
Fixtures come thick and fast throughout Christmas, with the Reds preparing for five league encounters within the next three weeks, and the boss has called for a strong conclusion to the calendar year.
"I hope that we finish this year strongly. 2012 has been an emotional year for the football club - we want to finish it on a high," reflected the 39-year-old.
"We can then go into the next six months and push on, because that's when you take care of business and in particular the last 10 games.
"If we can arrive in January in and around that top four then we can really put our foot to the floor, when the confidence will be improved even more and players will be aligned with what we're trying to achieve. I believe we can have a good second half of the season."
In the short term, focus is solely on the visit of Aston Villa on Saturday, and Rodgers also provided an injury update - with in-form full-back Jose Enrique the only doubt for the weekend.
The boss concluded: "It's looking very good. Jose Enrique came off with a problem in the last game - we just need to assess how he is. He's a little bit tight down the side of his hamstring.
"Apart from that, our condition has been excellent and it's great credit to how the players have prepared themselves.
"We've played a lot of games - our recovery with our medical and sports science team has been first class and left us with a squad of players who have been available for a lot of the time."