Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish believes an “obsession” with the Premier League appears to be reducing the value of winning cup competitions.
The Reds head into Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea looking for their second piece of silverware this season having already lifted the Carling Cup.
However, Liverpool’s league form has been wildly inconsistent and a fourth home defeat to Fulham means they have dropped 30 points at Anfield.
Their eighth-place position is well below the standard required by principal owner John Henry, who arrived on Merseyside yesterday ahead of the trip to Wembley and who, at the start of the season, felt Dalglish’s side should have been challenging for a top-four place.
But while the Reds chief accepts their league form has not been good enough he does not believe it should devalue their progress in knockout competitions, having ended a six-year wait for silverware.
“Any competition you enter you want to do the best you possibly can in,” said the Scot.
“There is an obsession with the Premier League simply because of what it holds for every club and the value financially for every club, the rewards you get for finishing in the top four and getting in the Champions League.
“But there is a satisfaction from winning a cup competition which you don’t get from finishing fifth or sixth in the league.
“We have already tasted a cup final this year, albeit the Carling Cup, and getting to the FA Cup final should never be under-estimated in any way.
“It is a fantastic day out for everyone and is great reward for the efforts and commitment of the players and the respect we have paid to the competition.
“We think we deserve to be there and we are happy to be there.
“We will see what happens. We are in the cup final and there is no guarantee we will win but there is a guarantee we will give everything we have got to try to win.
“The season will be assessed when it’s finished.”
Captain Steven Gerrard has spoken a number of times in the past of having to address their league form and he and veteran defender Jamie Carragher reiterated that stance.
However, both insisted winning two trophies in a season should be regarded as an achievement.
“It is a successful season. This club is all about winning big trophies and the FA Cup certainly comes under that,” said Gerrard.
“We will assess the season after the weekend. If we can look back and say we have won two cups we will be happy.
“The FA Cup is special altogether but we got a taste of success winning the Carling Cup and that will help some of the younger players in the squad and everyone really because winning breeds confidence.”