Roy Hodgson believes his Liverpool side are finally starting to make progress but warns it will be some time before their revival truly bears fruit.
Liverpool finally climbed out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone on Sunday, after an embarrassing stay of almost a month, courtesy of a late Maxi Rodriguez winner at Bolton which moved the Reds up to a more respectable-looking 12th position.
Hodgson said: "It is still too early to be too optimistic but at least it is a step in the right direction. The players now know they have got the ability to dig in, even in games like this, which is a good thing to know. It is nice to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel."
Hodgson's caution was understandable after his side struggled to overcome a determined Bolton side.
"We had so much of the ball, so many situations where I thought we had opportunities and we wasted them," said Hodgson.
"Luckily one more came up and we took it. When you don't do that you are always worried one of the long throws or long balls into the penalty area is going to bounce kindly for the opposition and you are going to lose the game.
"I was delighted that didn't happen. I thought it was a very gritty performance from our back four."
The only downside for Liverpool was the loss of Joe Cole with a hamstring injury which could force him to miss the visit of former club Chelsea next Sunday.
Defeat was harsh on Bolton, who had looked set to claim at least their seventh draw of the season, but manager Owen Coyle expects his team to respond.
Coyle said: "I felt it was cruel on the team given the efforts they put in. We dominated the game for large periods. The application and endeavour the players are showing is there for everyone to see and the only disappointment is losing the game. We will take our medicine, our kick in the teeth, and look to bounce back quickly."
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