Liverpool may be sitting at the summit of the Barclays Premier League this Sunday morning, but manager Brendan Rodgers believes there is a wealth of development for his team to achieve yet.

A 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace yesterday, courtesy of goals from Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard, secured a fifth league triumph of the campaign and lifted the Reds up to top spot.

Ever the perfectionist, however, Rodgers stressed after the final whistle that his players have not reached their maximum performance level during the opening few weeks of the 2013-14 season.

The boss told the BBC's Match of the Day programme: "We wanted to make improvements on last season. From January onwards, our performance level has been good.

"We finished seventh last year and our idea is to get into the top four. There is still a long way to go, it is seven games in. All we had in mind at this stage was to make a good start.

"To have won five games out of seven has been very encouraging. I still believe there is a lot of development in this group and team.

"We can play a lot better but we've got the mentality now that if we don't play as well as we want to, at least we can win games. That's something that's very important.

"It's a great credit to the players - their mentality to improve has been excellent. In the opening seven games, we haven't hit anywhere near the level, performance-wise, that we would want to.

"But what we've shown is that we can win games, even when we don't play at our best. Today in the first half, we got three goals and maybe could have had some more.

"We need to be better with the ball - we put the ball at risk too much. That's part of the system and with the players that we've lost; we have five players out injured and some of those are key players for us.

"It has meant a shift in the structure. Sometimes 3-5-2 is set up more for the counter-attack. Overall, we need to make improvements with the ball - it's very important for us.

"It's not enough to just win games, for me, I'm very much someone who worries about playing well. We'll take the three points but we need to improve our level with the football.

"But overall, I'm delighted with the response this season; we just go into each game looking to perform well and win, and that's what we've done."

The Northern Irishman has adopted a 3-4-1-2 formation in recent weeks - a strategic switch to allow the strike partnership of Sturridge and Suarez plenty of freedom at the front end of the pitch.


"Sometimes you can play in different positions and, knowing the two players well, I've played them in a number of positions," the manager explained.

"I've played one of them up top and one in a semi-wide position; I've played Daniel up through the middle and Luis in behind as a No.10.

"They are both what I would call nine-and-a-halves, in terms of how they get in between defenders and can drop in short and go long.

"We wanted to put the two of them up there and obviously then we look at the structure, with the players that we have, in behind that - whether that is a 4-4-2 diamond, 3-5-2 or sometimes a flexible 4-4-2.

"But with the players that we have at the moment, the 3-4-1-2 suits us and those two were exceptional.

"In the first half in particular today, some of their combination play and link-up was outstanding. They are right up there with the best in this league."