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I wonder on what page of Brendan Rodgers' bulky dossier mapping out Liverpool's future did it say 'build up fan expectations with some big talk then lose disappointingly at Anfield to a lively but limited Aston Villa'?
You could just see it happening. Having done so well to keep a realistic level of expectation about what his Liverpool side can hope to achieve this season and, having taken the bulk of the fans with him, Rodgers - and some of his players - let a run of promising-ish results go to their heads. Four points off fourth place going into the weekend fixtures, players were talking in terms of an assault on the top four. Rodgers went further suggesting that the champions Manchester City - 11 points clear of Liverpool - were a realistic target.
The weekend has come and gone, and the Reds are now 14 points behind City and seven off the Champions League places. Liverpool's new reality was back in its proper focus. After three seasons outside of the top four, Liverpool are essentially no closer to that august body - Rodgers is making some progress in laying down the foundations of his vision, but qualification for the Champions League is fanciful and any such talk foolishly raises the hopes of the Liverpool faithful.
Liverpool's current reality is not the title, it's not Manchester United, Manchester City or Chelsea. It's not top four. Liverpool are currently an irrelevance in this circle. Perhaps Rodgers will succeed in making them competitive at the top end, but it will take time. Liverpool's current reality is Stoke, it's WBA, it's Swansea, Norwich and West Ham. It's teams that currently dream of a top-ten finish. Liverpool players, manager and fans should be focusing on finishing ahead of these sides and trying to improve on last season's points tally and an eighth-place finish. They might even set their sights on Everton who, despite winning many plaudits, are not out of reach and may find that draws that should be wins will leave them vulnerable.
Liverpool fans need to be realistic and should see the date of Rodgers' appointment as day one in what might be a difficult journey. But just because it will be difficult, does not mean that the ride cannot be dramatic and indeed enjoyable. Football for most teams, after all, is not about winning trophies.
Reds fans should try and be positive about having a young, modern manager with a vision and give him the patience and support he needs to try and make it all a reality. They should try and enjoy seeing young talent from the academy getting a shot at glory. They should recognise the fact that at under 21 and youth levels their sides are playing a brand of football consistent with that of the first team, and take some comfort from the fact that the reserves are the only unbeaten side in the U-21 Premier League. That consistent approach to playing style from top to bottom has not always been apparent in recent years and should be viewed as a positive development that may help ease other young hopefuls into the first-team reckoning.
And Liverpool fans should embrace the Europa League, accept that currently this is where the club sits and enjoy that competition. After all, the competition is by no means beneath them.
Realistically, they should keep looking for signs that Rodgers is making headway, expect that the failures of the summer window will be rectified this January and hope that this will be translated into better results after Christmas and a more competitive 2012/13 season. But looking for more this season will only lead to pain and frustration and the kind of pressure that the manager and players do not need at this stage of their development.
Brendan Rodgers and co, perhaps looking too hard to prove that progress is being made, foolishly took league wins over struggling Southampton and a West Ham that may have run out of steam, plus victory over a dispirited Udinese, as hard evidence that Liverpool were back. In doing so, they forgot some of football's most simple adages - that you take each game as it comes and never count on points that you have not already bagged.
Paul Little - he's on the Twitter @little_football