Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool’s six-point cushion in its UEFA Champions League qualification spot does not reduce the amount of hard work remaining for his team this season.
The Reds’ hard-fought 4-3 victory over Swansea City on Sunday, coupled with Tottenham Hotspur’s defeat later in the day, opened up a healthy advantage in fourth place in the Barclays Premier League.
Rodgers has now overseen 17 wins from 27 league games in 2013-14 — a record the manager said has exceeded his expectations from when the campaign kicked off in August.
Nevertheless, 11 crucial games are left on the schedule, and the Northern Irishman plans to do everything in his power to ensure that none of the Liverpool players take their foot off the pedal.
“When we spoke to the owners when I decided to come here, I certainly wanted to be challenging for the Champions League by the time we were in our third year. I knew there was a big job to do at Liverpool.
“Working with the players, I’m not surprised, because I see how much they put into it and the qualities they have. Sometimes in the press this season, I’ve maybe been deemed to be playing down our hopes and expectations.
“But it’s an authentic look at where we’re at. We’ve probably moved ahead of where I thought we would be this season — some of our play has been exceptional — but there are still areas of the team that I feel we need to improve on.
“Certainly, where we are at the moment with 11 games to go, it has been a wonderful season for us. But we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Glancing upward when viewing the Premier League standings shows that Rodgers’ charges are currently within four points of the summit, but the boss is adopting a pragmatic approach.
“I’m only looking at the next game. We’ve got Southampton, which will be a tough game,” he continued. “We’re playing with great confidence and great belief. We have elements of our game that we need to improve on.
“But all we can do is do our best. There are other teams above us that are probably favorites and are more equipped to win the league, because they have been there and got stronger squads.
“We will just continue to do our best. We’re in a really good position, but there’s still an awful lot of work to go before we can think of winning anything.”