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Rodgers still eyeing top four

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says his side still have a ‘terrific chance’ of finishing in the English Premier League’s top four.

The Anfield outfit sit seventh on the table, nine points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.

But Liverpool have improved recently, losing just one of their past six league fixtures, and they were terrific in a 2-2 draw at champions Manchester City last week.

Finishing in the top four would give Liverpool a chance to play in the UEFA Champions League, a competition they have won five times, and Rodgers believes his side can give themselves the opportunity to compete in Europe’s premier club competition again.

“We’ve got nine points difference (to Tottenham), and we can do it, there’s no question about that,” Rodgers said.

“We’ve had a lot of tough games, and we’ve got a lot of big rivals for those places to come at home. As I’ve said, our form at home is getting better, we’re scoring goals, we’ve been defensively strong, the crowd have been magnificent, so we sense a real opportunity.

“It’s a lot of points to make up, but we’re certainly going to fight. We’re certainly going to accept the challenge that’s in front of us and I believe that the players, if we continue to play how we have been and retain that focus and mentality, then we’ll have a terrific chance.”

The famous club have scored 29 goals in their past 12 matches in all competitions and Rodgers is pleased with their play in the attacking third.

He also took the chance to praise veteran defender Jamie Carragher, who impressed against City last week.

“All the players are wanting the ball (and) working very, very hard. The creativity is great – we go to Manchester City and have 21 shots at goal – so we look like we’re always going to score goals,” he said.

“He (Carragher) is what I would call a pure defender. He’s a guy that in the modern game there’s very few of. You see a lot of rash defending now throughout the game. This is a guy who’s a pure defender.

“He defends with great intelligence. He knows when to mark a man, when to mark space, understands the real basic principles of defending, and he’s real outstanding leader on the team.

“To find someone who has all of those capabilities, and has got a heart the size of a lion, is very, very difficult to find nowadays. So, as I’ve said, he’s a player that, that type, you won’t find.”

Liverpool’s next Premier League fixture is at Anfield on Monday when they welcome the visit of West Bromwich Albion.

Daniel Sturridge – who has scored four goals in his six Liverpool matches since signing from Chelsea – will face a late fitness test on his injured thigh, while Raheem Sterling (dead leg) will feature.

And Rodgers is confident his side can win in front of their home fans.

“There’s a real determination in the group to finish the season well,” he said.

“It’ll be a really difficult game for us on Monday night, Steve (Clarke, West Brom manager) has done an excellent job there at West Brom. They’ve obviously not started the year the way they would have wanted to have started.

“At Anfield as well though, I think there’s a greater confidence that we have in terms of our game, and that’s something we want to continue until the end of the season.”

Fri 8 February, 2013
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