Former Liverpool midfielder Vladimir Smicer has told bwin that he is happy with what he has seen from Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp so far but believes the club must go on to win the Europa League if this season is to be remembered as a success.
Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers in October and his first six months in charge of the club have seen a general improvement in results and performances.
The former Borussia Dortmund manager led the club to the final of the Capital One Cup, where they were defeated by Manchester City on penalties, and he has also guided them past such clubs as Manchester United and Dortmund into the semi-finals of the Europa League.
Smicer, who scored 19 goals in 183 appearances for Liverpool, has been pleased with the progress he has seen under Klopp but insists the club must go all the way in Europe for the season to be considered successful.
The former Czech international told bwin: "For Liverpool to have a successful season, they must win the Europa League but there are four very good teams left in the competition, so it’s going to be difficult.
"I am happy with Klopp’s first season. He changed the team and the players and now they are playing better football, showing more enthusiasm in the game and I think the fans are appreciating it.
"I think that Liverpool can compete with the best teams in England at the moment. There is not a big difference between the top teams and if we make good signings this summer, I think we can push on and challenge for the title next season."
Liverpool must recover from conceding the only goal of the semi-final first leg against Villarreal in injury-time last week if they are to reach a first European final in nine years against Sevilla or Shakhtar Donetsk.
To win the game outright in 90 or 120 minutes, the Reds must beat the Spanish side by two clear goals, although a 1-0 victory for the hosts at Anfield would see the tie head to a penalty shootout.