Now bring on the title Aug 3 2005
By Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo
DJIBRIL CISSE believes Liverpool are ready to mount a genuine title challenge this season.
The French forward - who scored a beautifully taken volley in Liverpool's 2-0 win over FC Kaunas last night - says he is convinced the Reds will be a serious threat to champions Chelsea.
Liverpool have not won the league since 1990 but Cisse insists that if Benitez's team fulfils its potential this season they could bring the Premiership to Anfield.
He said: "We have got to be a top three team and with all the talent we've got here, with the potential we have at this club, that should be perfectly possible.
"Yes, Liverpool could be champions. We can bridge the gap.
"I know we finished a long way behind the top teams last season but think of it this way, which teams have the potential to do better next time around?
"For the teams above us, it will be hard for them to do much better, whereas we know that there's a lot more to come.
"Don't forget last season was the first time that players like myself, Luis Garcia, Fernando Morientes and Milan Baros played in the same team.
"There's so much room for improvement because there's so much potential. There are great things to come, I'm sure of that."
Cisse was delighted to get himself on the scoresheet last night and says he is now enjoying his football again after recovering fully from an horrific broken leg sustained against Blackburn Rovers last year.
"I had a bad season last season so I'm enjoying playing and scoring goals," he said.
"It was very important to have a game like we did against Kaunas - it was a good game to prepare for the Premiership."
Peter Crouch was today having a scan on the hamstring injury he picked up during the second half of last night's game and the injury is likely to keep the £7m striker out of the first leg of Liverpool's third round Champions League qualifier against either CSKA Sofia or Tirana.
Manager Rafa Benitez has until midnight tomorrow to bring in any reinforcements who will be eligible for that game, with a new centre back and right winger being his priorities.
Meanwhile, Liverpool will complete the signing of teenage defender Jack Hobbs from Lincoln City on his 17th birthday.
Hobbs, who celebrates on August 18, has impressed during a trial period at Melwood and will join the Reds for an undisclosed fee.