Kenny Dalglish
Liverpool legend Ian Rush believes manager Kenny Dalglish has overseen a massive turnaround in the club's fortunes. REUTERS REUTERS

Liverpool legend Ian Rush still believes his former club can finish in the top four in May but cautioned fans that it will be another season before the Reds can mount a credible Premier League title challenge.

The Reds are currently sixth in the table, fourteen points behind leaders Manchester City but Rush insists the side's improvement has been remarkable since Kenny Dalglish's return 12 months ago.

Dalglish marked his one-year anniversary as Liverpool boss with a comfortable 5-1 victory over League One side Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup on Friday and Rush is confident the "real progress" made by the club since last January will be rewarded in the coming months.

"We've got a realistic chance for the top four this season," Rush told the official Liverpool Web site. "When Kenny was in charge before we always used to come on strong after the turn of the year.

"In the second half of the season we really stepped it up and hopefully that will be the case again.

"Next season we'll be looking to kick on again and I think we can expect to challenge for the title. Over the past year there's been real progress. We have become a force again."

Dalglish assumed temporary charge of Liverpool on 8 January, 2011 - two days after Roy Hodgson was relieved of his duties following a 3-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers.

And Rush is adamant the improvement shown since last year demonstrates how Dalglish has restored the "principles and philosophy" of the club.

"He has this ability to give you confidence and belief, and knows how to get the best out of players. People want to play for him," said Rush.

"If you look at Liverpool Football Club when Kenny took over compared to where it is now, there's a massive difference.

"With Kenny it's all about the club. You win nothing as individuals; it's all about the team."

The former Liverpool star, who notched 346 goals in 660 Liverpool appearances, said he never doubted Dalglish's ability to reassume the Anfield hot-seat.

"I knew Kenny would slot straight back in and make a big impact. At the time some people said it was a risk because he had been out of management for so long but that was never a worry for me.

"He might have been out of management but he hadn't been out of football and he certainly hadn't been out of Liverpool Football Club. He had been to virtually every game."