Brendan Rodgers believes Manchester City’s recent struggles have allowed his Liverpool side back in with a chance of a top-four finish.
Successive defeats to Manchester United and Arsenal looked to have doomed the Reds in regards to UEFA Champions League qualification, but before this they were the in-form team in the Premier League and had gone 13 matches without defeat. This sequence included 10 wins, and allowed them to overcome a poor start to the campaign and climb up the standings.
And whilst they were gaining this momentum, City were struggling to keep pace with leaders Chelsea. Manuel Pellegrini’s side had drawn level with the Londoners by the New Year’s Day, but the champions have only won four matches since and lost four in their last six outings. And this has given the Anfield club an opportunity to overtake them and pinch a fourth place finish.
“Manchester City have maybe opened up the door for the teams below but for us we’ve still got to win our games,” Rodgers told Sky Sports. “The teams above us are obviously in the advantageous position but if we win our games we’ll see what happens. In the last six games, there are still so many twists in it yet. As long as we can win the games it keeps putting pressure on the teams above us.”
Liverpool bounced back from their losses to United and Arsenal by beating Newcastle United on Monday night, closing the gap on City to just four points with six games to play. However, it would appear that Pellegrini’s side have the more comfortable run-in, particularly as four of their remaining matches are at home to West Ham United, Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers and Southampton.
The Merseyside club, on the other hand, have four away fixtures including the trip to title favourites Chelsea. They also have the small matter of an FA Cup semi-final against Villa on Sunday afternoon, and it is this which Rodgers and co will now be focusing on. The last time they won the famous trophy was back in 2006, when Steven Gerrard inspired a shootout victory over West Ham.