Roy Hodgson admitted Liverpool are not playing like a top four side following Saturday's 2-2 draw with Sunderland.
The struggling Reds narrowly avoided a shock at home after coming from behind to earn a point thanks to a Steven Gerrard strike.
A Darren Bent double had given the Black Cats the advantage after the home side had taken a controversial early lead through Dirk Kuyt.
Liverpool have won just one of their opening six league games and Hodgson has found himself under pressure just weeks into his Anfield reign following a midweek Carling Cup exit at the hands of Northampton Town.
Speaking after the stalemate, Hodgson admitted his players are struggling to live up to expectations.
"The league is very, very tight. Had we won today we probably would have found ourselves in fourth or fifth place," he said.
"I don't think we're playing like a team from fourth or fifth place at the moment, but that is how close the league is. There is not an awful lot to put between players.
"One of the things that is lacking is we need to play and work much more together.
"We've got a lot of new players coming into the team and we haven't had that much time.
"The more we work and the more the team plays together the better you will see them become.
"Rome wasn't built in a day and we've got to keep working at it.
"Certainly I've got a group of players here who will work and try to get better and give their all.
"Over the 90 minutes I thought we were certainly worth more than the point we got.
"I'm sure the fans will appreciate the effort, the spirit and the determination of the players and that is another little step forward."