Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez believes he is paying the price for the team's Champions League triumph in 2005.
Benitez ended Liverpool's 21-year wait to win a fifth European Cup in his first season as the Reds claimed a remarkable victory over AC Milan in Athens.
But the Spaniard is convinced that success has raised expectations at Anfield to unrealistic levels.
Liverpool fans are desperate to see their team win the Premier League for the first time since 1990, but Benitez insists they must realise how hard it is to overhaul Manchester United and Chelsea.
“In some ways it has made things more difficult because the expectations became so high,” he told the Times on Friday. “Then we won the European Super Cup and FA Cup the following season and so suddenly everyone was saying, 'OK, the next step will be the Premier League title.'
“But then, when you don't win it, people say, 'Oh, you can't go to that next step,' when, maybe, we were operating at the next level up, but because the other teams around us were progressing as well, it didn't seem that way.
“In some respects, we were maybe our own worst enemies, but, of course, I'd prefer to have that problem, to be talking as a Champions League winner.
People are talking now about us not having won the league for 18 years, but it was 21 years since this club had last won the European Cup.
“The key is not to say that we can win the title because it's clear that it's the most difficult league in the world to win. Look at the final of the Champions League last season, it was between Chelsea and United, who are at the top of the table in England.”
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