Kenny Dalglish's return to Anfield last year and the subsequent lavish outlay in the transfer market had fuelled optimism among Liverpool fans that the club were poised to re-emerge as a force in English football.
But a frustratingly inconsistent Premier League campaign has raised more questions than answers about Dalglish's reign, with Liverpool's dreams of a swift return to the Champions League being extinguished weeks ago.
Fulham became the latest side to ransack Anfield on Tuesday with a 1-0 win, a result that leaves Liverpool on course to register their worst record at home since the 1948-49 season.
Yet if Liverpool can overcome a weary Chelsea at Wembley, Dalglish will be able to point to a season that has yielded two pieces of silverware following his side's League Cup win over Cardiff City in February.
While the Premier League remains the priority, the Liverpool manager insists that a domestic cup double is proof that solid progress is being made.
"Any competition you enter, you want to do the best you possibly can in," Dalglish said. "In the league it is 38 games and at the end you finish in a position which tells you how successful it has been.
"In cup competitions there are obviously not as many games and if you get beaten, you are out.
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