Pepe Reina has told Liverpool fans that they should not expect the club to immediately return to the top four of the Premier League table this season.
Rafa Benitez left the club for Inter Milan over the summer and Roy Hodgson was brought in as his replacement from Fulham after Liverpool finished well short of the Champions League places during the last campaign in seventh.
Optimism was high at Anfield upon Hodgson’s appointment and he has already taken steps to stamp his own authority on the first team through signings including Joe Cole, Raul Meireles and Christian Poulsen.
However, goalkeeper Reina has pointed out that the club is going through a transitional phase and the new arrivals will take time to gel with the squad’s longer-term members.
He said: “We have to make sure that people don’t think of winning the league or being in the top four already at this moment. It is going to take a while.
“We have got to get used to the new players and then the system. There are many good teams and our target is to be up there but we have to be realistic.”
Liverpool have only won one of their opening four games and are already seven points adrift of league leaders Chelsea.
They are 28/1 to win their first Premier League title this season and they face one of their toughest tasks of the campaign next when heading to Old Trafford to face Manchester United.
Liverpool are 7/2 to get their season back on track with a victory, with the Red Devils 8/11 to ensure that Hodgson’s newly-assembled squad remain in the lower echelons of the table.
Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford last season, See the whole match betting market.