Adam Lallana believes Jürgen Klopp's patient approach to his recovery laid the foundations for an impressive return to action at Burnley on New Year's Day.
The midfielder made his first start of the campaign as the Reds won 2-1 at Turf Moor on Monday, having missed the start of 2017-18 with a thigh injury picked up in pre-season.
Lallana initially made his comeback as a substitute during the 1-1 draw with Chelsea in late November, but suffered a setback that further delayed any potential inclusion in the starting XI.
Klopp took an even more cautious approach with his No.20 before bringing him back into the squad this time around, and was rewarded with a lung-busting 86-minute outing against the Clarets.
The Englishman says that is down to work done at Melwood, telling the Liverpool Echo: "It tests different parts of you, but I feel that I have learned so much from being out.
"I have come back strong. I had a couple of little setbacks along the way with a minor blister and then a tight muscle but that's what happens.
"Maybe it is credit to the manager over the last few games, just holding me back. I was able to get some good training sessions in but I'm back now.
"I have lasted a game after being out for four or five months so that shows I am in good shape.
"There's a lot to look forward to. We are in amongst the top four and in the last 16 of the Champions League.
"There are so many great games to look forward to, like the FA Cup tie against Everton on Friday. I'm absolutely delighted to be back and part of a winning team again."
The Reds were certainly made to battle for their latest Premier League victory, with the hosts taking a typically physical approach in hostile conditions in Lancashire.
It appeared the visitors' hard work had been undone when Johann Gudmundsson cancelled out Sadio Mane's opener in the 87th minute, but Ragnar Klavan's injury-time header clinched the points.
Lallana added: "I loved it, it was a proper gritty game.
"We had to dig in and the result is absolutely huge - that's two 2-1 wins in the space of three days.
"To make seven changes and go to Burnley and win shows how good our squad is. You don't come here and win easily. You only have to look at their record to see how well they have done. It's a huge statement.
"We were always going to have deal with bits of pressure from Burnley. Sam Vokes came on and he is strong, powerful. He wins the majority of balls he goes for in the air.
"To concede as we did and then go up the other end and get our goal from a set-piece, it shows the steps we have made moving forward.
"It has been frustrating for me watching from the sidelines but it is great to see how much we have improved. To be a part of it again is a great feeling."