Realist Rodgers admits top four now a ‘huge task’ for Liverpool
Brendan Rodgers concedes that Liverpool now look likely to miss out on Champions League football for another season
Even looking at the Premier League table from the most optimistic of angles, Brendan Rodgers admits that a top-four finish for Liverpool this season is now almost out of reach.
The Reds had navigated their way through the start of the year in respectable style, picking up draws at Arsenal and Manchester City to keep their push for Champions League football alive.
But Monday’s shock defeat by West Bromwich Albion has left the Merseysiders lingering in ninth and 12 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.
And the northern Irishman concedes that his side are now all but out of the hunt for Champions League football for another year.
“Being a realist, it’s going to be very difficult,” said Rodgers ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Swansea on Saturday.
“You never lose your optimism and I’m always optimistic but it’s going to be a huge task.
“The reality is that losing the game on Monday night makes it very difficult.
“It means we can still do it but we have to pick up a win somewhere else when maybe we were looking at our home games in particular as games to build on our good form at home and try to get some results away. In short, it will be difficult.”
The Reds were sent crashing to back-to-back defeats by Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday night as the Russian side sealed a 2-0 win over Rodgers’ men in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie.
And Rodgers believes that the Reds’ punishment for failing to convert their chances sums up their campaign.
“It has probably typified our season,” continued the Liverpool boss.
“We arrived into the last couple of games on the back of two outstanding performances – away at Arsenal and Manchester City. Going into the game against West Brom we were very confident, didn’t take our chances and got punished late on in the game; likewise last night.
“It’s not a tactical or technical issue, it’s not physical – it’s one where more maturity in our performances can give us the results that we need. That’s something that we need to improve, and will do.”