Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers predicted a late-season charge for his side in their bid for a top-four Premier League finish after they won 1-0 at Sunderland.
Lazar Markovic's first league goal secured victory at the Stadium of Light on Saturday to make it one defeat in 13 games for last season's runners-up, who cemented their hold on eighth place.
Rodgers has loftier ambitions for the rest of the campaign and after pre-season upheaval, the Northern Irishman feels his raft of new players are finally coming to terms with the Premier League.
"We've still got a way to go to get back to our best, but I expect even more because we're a side who get better in the second half of the season," he said.
"There's a lot of talent here slowly feeling its way into the team, and we want to keep that going.
"We've still got Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana to come back from injury as well. We're developing very well and the system's working well.
"Markovic deserved his goal. He has been very good for the past few weeks, and it's just taken time to adapt because there's a bit of spotlight on him and the other summer arrivals after what we did last year.
"It's been difficult for them. They're settling into the philosophy as to how we work and play. I always felt it was going to come, it was just a matter of time, and the first part of the season was difficult for us."
Rodgers confirmed that Steven Gerrard will have a precautionary scan on a hamstring problem that forced the Liverpool skipper off at half-time.
England forward Sterling is set to return for next weekend's league trip to Aston Villa, after a planned break from first-team action.
- Rodgers foresees 'quiet' January -
"It was something planned in the summer," Rodgers explained. "In two and a half years Raheem has gone from the youth team to a regular in the first team and an international, and we've asked a lot of him.
"He's played a lot for me, over 100 games, and I just felt this would be a good period for him to have a rest, miss our FA Cup tie (a 2-1 win at AFC Wimbledon) and miss this game and then come back refreshed."
Liverpool should have won by a much greater margin than that provided by Markovic's goal -- his first in league football since a £20 million ($30.3 million, 25.6 million euros) move from Benfica.
The impressive Serbian, who also hit the bar, was one of several high-profile arrivals before the start of the season, meaning Rodgers expects a low-key January when it comes to further Anfield arrivals.
"It will be quiet for us in January," said Rodgers, whose side are four points below the Champions League places.
"We obviously did a lot of business in the summer, but if we think there's something that can really improve our team, then we'll look to do that."
Sunderland are in relegation danger after a run of one win in 11 league games.
Adam Johnson struck the bar after the break, but their hopes of salvaging a draw suffered a weighty blow when midfielder Liam Bridcutt earned a second yellow card early in the second half.
Sunderland have scored just 18 goals in the league this season and manager Gus Poyet is under increasing pressure to bring in fresh attacking options during the January transfer window.
"We're working at it, but can't promise anything because I don't know," Poyet said. "We'll have to wait and see. I don't want to give too much away at this point, but we're trying.
"I know supporters are frustrated, but they have to accept reality and look at what's been going on here for the past four or five years."