Over the course of the last three seasons, Liverpool have managed to play some terrific stuff at times. Under Roy Hodgson not so much, but the spring of 2011 saw the club surge into the top six under Kenny Dalglish with a terrific run of form, and in the fall of that same year they started brightly before an abysmal second half. The reverse was true for Brendan Rodgers' first season, which saw the club struggle to earn points through the fall and winter, but make a strong case for progress in the spring of 2013.
The success continued for most of the 2013 calendar year, and Liverpool now sit fourth in the table through the first half (plus one) of the season after having been top at Christmas for the first time in years. They finally look set for a true challenge at the top four, and if that's going to continue to be the case, Lucas has underlined the need for them to put together a full season's worth of winning football:
"In the second half of the season we have to keep the same mentality and consistency as we've shown as a team so far. Consistency is a word we have spoken about a lot over the past few seasons. We've not been able to get the consistency needed in order to compete. But in the first half of this season we have shown the progress of the team. We are a more mature team and we are winning games.
"We dropped a bit in the table after the defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea but I think we probably deserved more from both of those games. We will have a good chance when we play them at home for sure. If we keep the same attitude until the end of the season then we will have a big chance of staying where we are or going even higher."
Last year, talk of top four football and the Champions League annoyed and grated. This season it's mostly just terrifying given that it could be an actual possibility. It's still a long ways off, of course, and the top six or seven teams likely won't be separated by much heading into the season's final weeks. If Liverpool can continue their progress and manage to put in the types of performances on a match-to-match basis that have seen them to this point--shaking off the worrying lack of consistency the club has shown since stumbling badly in Rafa's final season--there's little reason to think they won't find themselves in Europe late this summer.