Kenny Dalglish believes the Liverpool stars who pushed Manchester United all the way in the title race will march into next season "full of belief".
Times have changed since Dalglish was Liverpool manager when they won their last title 19 years ago, and Sir Alex Ferguson's men have now equalled Liverpool's record of 18 league titles.
But Dalglish considers that Liverpool under Rafael Benitez can stop United taking the lead next term with a 19th crown. "There is always expectation, but I believe that this time it will be justified," he said.
"I just hope Rafa can build on the good work that he has achieved this season.
"Obviously we would love to be in Manchester United's position, everybody would. But we have got a lot closer this season than we have got in previous years and that is very important.
"It will give them great belief now when they go into next season - with one or two changes, obviously."
Liverpool will be runners-up if they take one point from Sunday's final game at home to Spurs, although it would take a remarkable turnaround on goal difference for Chelsea to overtake them now.
Dalglish said: "There is a lot more positivity at the end of this season than there has been in many previously.
"Rafa signing his contract, Stevie Gerrard agreeing to stay, Fernando Torres agreeing to stay and Dirk Kuyt also signing a new contract.
"All that is brilliant. And now we have the two Americans (owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks) working more closely together. All that is very positive."
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