Rodgers sees Liverpool on the up

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers expects to make a significant move on the top four next season.

Last Updated: 10/05/13 at 16:48 Post Comment

Rodgers: Targeting Champions League spot

Rodgers: Targeting Champions League spot

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers expects to make a significant move on the top four next season and Sir Alex Ferguson's departure as Manchester United boss may provide a helping hand.

Ferguson's 27-year reign, which will end in retirement this summer, has delivered 13 league titles to Old Trafford.

Their success this season was their 20th, taking them further past Liverpool's previous record of 18 and achieving the Scot's aim all those years ago of 'knocking Liverpool off their perch'.

But with Ferguson out of the picture and David Moyes, who as Everton manager failed to record a league victory at United, Anfield, Manchester City or Arsenal in 11 years, taking over there is a sense there may be a dip in the Red Devils' success.

And while Rodgers would not predict what effect Moyes would have he wants his side to be in a position to take advantage should United - or any of their closest rivals - experience a drop-off.

"It (United) has been a machine which has been working for over 25 years," said the Reds boss.

"Sir Alex has really put his identity on the club and that has led to success.

"It will take David time to go in and assess everything but it is a club as stable as any in the world and it is ready-made for him.

"There is no doubt he (Ferguson) will be a big miss there because he has been there so many years and been part of the furniture, making the club what it is today.

"But (how they react to the change) is up to the rest of the clubs.

"The spending powers of the teams up there will always make it close.

"I can only think of Liverpool - I've a big enough job here to get us moving on but I think next year we can do that.

"My focus is to try to close the gap. We are bridging that gap slowly this year but hopefully we will take a bigger stride next year.

"But the reality is very simple: we are 30 points behind the leaders and 12 points behind fourth place so we have a lot of work to do here.

"We know it is a long road but we don't like being second-best and being behind.

"We don't start the season aiming to finish fourth. The aim is always to win the title.

"A club of this status that is the ultimate objective - but you have to be realistic."

Progress has been made in Rodgers' first season in charge but his team are still too inconsistent to sustain a top-four challenge.

He admits they were never likely to make the leap back into Champions League qualification immediately after his arrival but having put systems of play and ways of operating behind the scenes he is more optimistic about next season.

Much will depend, however, on his success in the transfer market.

He will not have a massive amount at his disposal - probably about £20million, which is what he spent on Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho in January, plus any cash generated from sales.

Then it is about picking the players who have the right qualities to for a top-four push.

"I am very hopeful with what I have seen with the (current squad's) mentality and it is our job in the summer to get the right types of characters to build that winning mentality and turn a lot of our draws into victories which I believe will push us into the top four next year," he added.

"It is where we want to be. The history of this club dictates that but this season was about putting that base in place.

"Young players have got an opportunity to play and I've seen development in the players but we are here to win.

"Next year can be a big year for us if we can add the right type of mentalities to the group and make sure we become more consistent next year.

"The realism is in the earlier part of the season we got two consecutive wins in the Premier League for the first time in over a year.

"That is something you have to put into perspective.

"My biggest aim was to try to improve the consistency of the group but if we are going to make the jump into the next phase we have to improve again.

"It is always the aim to finish top - every big club will go in with that ambition - but we know it is a process to arrive there.

"We are confident next year we can make those steps to keep the progress moving on."

Liverpool's friendly against Ajax Cape Town on May 21 has been cancelled after the South African Premier Soccer League ruled it could not be played during their season.


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