Liverpool have made a hugely impressive start to the season, but Steven Gerrard doesn’t expect them to win the title this term.
When Kenny Dalglish delivered a record 18th league championship to Anfield back in 1990, little did anyone expect this was to be their last success for over two decades. Yet a succession of managers have come and gone over the years without being able to mount a serious bid, whilst Manchester United have become the dominant force in England.
Indeed, when the Kop celebrated that league title 23 years ago, the club from Old Trafford had been crowned champions on just seven occasions. Alex Ferguson, though, was building something special in the red half of Manchester, and when he announced his retirement last season he did so after adding title number 20 to the trophy cabinet.
Liverpool fans the world over breathed a sigh a relief when the Scot called time on his United career, and they have been further buoyed by the start their own team have made to the season. After seven matches the Reds are in second spot, only behind leaders Arsenal on goal difference; and they have defeated their North West rivals at home.
So optimism is certainly high on Merseyside, maybe more so than at any time in recent years. However, their legendary captain Gerrard has moved to play down their title aspirations. Whilst the England star is refusing to completely rule out a 19th crown, he insists the main target this season remains finishing in the top four.
“I’d never say never about our chances of winning the Premier League title. But if I’m being honest, that’s not the aim,” Gerrard, who celebrated his testimonial at Anfield before the start of the season, told the club’s official website. “The aim is for a top-four place.”
With no European football on the agenda at all this season, this at least gives Brendan Rodgers and his players time to concentrate on their domestic programme. However, defender Daniel Agger admits he misses playing for the Reds on the continent, and he aims to ensure they are back amongst the cream of Europe next term.
“We would like to play in Europe, that is the most attractive, particularly the [UEFA] Champions League,” he told Politiken. “But, of course, fewer matches lets us recover better and we get more focused on the [Premier League] matches and that might be an advantage. We have been longing for a good start. We have got that now and we have to continue like that. There are still a lot of matches, but it looks positive.”