AFTER a stunning 2013 for Hull City, Curtis Davies insists there is even more to come in the new year.
The Tigers, promoted as Championship runners-up in May, travel to Liverpool today hoping to cement their place in the top half of the Premier League.
Davies, a £2.25m signing from Birmingham City last summer, is adamant that Hull’s impressive return to the top flight has not come as a surprise at the KC Stadium.
Hull’s 28-year-old defender told the Yorkshire Post: “I can’t say I am surprised by how we have done in the first half of the season.
“Knowing what we had in terms of our squad and particularly once the late additions of Tom (Huddlestone) and Jake (Livermore) were made, I thought we would be strong.
“I would be surprised if anyone has seen a better performance than what Tom did against Fulham (in Saturday’s 6-0 win).
“Away from the goal and his birthday and all that rubbish, I thought he was unbelievable. All the lads were buzzing for him.
“Fulham was a great way to finish the year, but now we have to continue it or a win like that will be for nothing.
“We have to dig in through these next couple of games (today at Liverpool and then at home to Chelsea on January 11).
“After that, we play more winnable games where people might expect us to get points and help us push on in 2014.
“We are all determined to make it another good year for Hull City.”
Davies and his team-mates may not see Hull’s start as a surprise, but, to the rest of the Premier League, the Tigers kicking off the new year in 10th place has been unexpected.
Manager Steve Bruce, through some impressive transfer dealing last summer, is a major reason behind Hull’s lofty position.
He is determined to build on the positive start, too, with Celtic’s Georgios Samaras, out of contract next summer, likely to be the subject of a £1m bid now the window is open.
This refusal to rest on their laurels permeates the squad’s thinking, according to Davies.
The Hull defender, who has missed just one league game this term, said: “I look at the table, of course I do.
“You have to know where you are and what you are aiming at.
“The good thing is we are 10th and the challenge now is to stay top half. We have to be looking up, not down. Of course, 17th would keep us up and we would not complain with that.
“But we do want to stay positive as a group and keep looking up, rather than behind us. You can never rest. Boxing Day showed that. We lost unluckily (to champions Manchester United) and then later in the day the bottom three all won away.
“That is what this league is like, there can be some really weird results. The manager knows that more than anyone.
“Look at the Fulham game. He is not arrogant enough to think we can make six or seven changes and not affect the performance. Few teams can.
“So he made a couple of changes, mainly in getting our two wingers to push their full-backs. And I thought Elmo (Ahmed Elmohamady) and George Boyd were fantastic. The energy they produced against one of the oldest teams in the league was vital.”
Hull’s thrashing of Fulham is vying with the 3-1 victory over Liverpool on December 1 as the outstanding result of the Yorkshire club’s season.
The Reds, who are likely to have Steven Gerrard back today, will be desperate to return to winning ways after a tough festive schedule brought back-to-back away losses at Manchester City and Chelsea – results that saw Brendan Rogers’s side drop from top to fifth.
Hull’s two visits to Anfield in their only previous stint in the top flight were contrasting affairs with a 2-2 draw in 2008-09, when the visitors had led 2-0, being followed by a 6-1 drubbing the following season.
Davies said: “(Luis) Suarez is obviously on fire at the moment. It is going to be tough and I know they will be out for revenge. All we can do is stand up and be counted.
“Anfield is one of my favourite places to play, maybe even the favourite. I have had mixed results there.
“I scored for Aston Villa in a win there once, but I also lost 5-0 with Villa. The thing I really like is the atmosphere. When they start singing You’ll Never Walk Alone before kick-off with all the scarves waving, that gives me tingles.
“Liverpool are a good team. On the back of our win at the KC, they smashed Norwich 5-1 and then West Ham 4-1. So, I think we can take from that that losing against us didn’t numb their confidence.”
Hull, though, will not be short of confidence themselves after the stunning manner of the win over Fulham.
Davies added: “I wouldn’t say our win over Fulham sent out a message, as such. What it did do was give us a valuable three points and help us get over the disappointment of the Manchester United defeat. It helps us going into two tough league games in Liverpool and Chelsea. To get six goals was obviously fantastic.
“Don’t get me wrong, Fulham wilted a bit. But to put six past any team at this level is a great achievement. The main thing, though, was we took our opportunity of three points. It is something you have to do at this level.
“We didn’t against Manchester United and that was disappointing, especially after being 2-0 up. But we bounced back in the right way against Fulham.”
Koren on Reds alert: Page 22.