Gerrard confident but Suarez issue looms
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes a top-four finish is possible if they can iron out their consistency issues but whether striker Luis Suarez is around to spearhead that challenge remains in doubt.
Press Association Sport understands the club turned down a £30million bid for the Uruguay international from Arsenal last week. While Liverpool insist the player is not for sale his public pronouncements on his dislike of his treatment by the English media and apparent interest in Real Madrid have made things difficult for the Merseysiders.
While the Suarez saga seems set to play out for several weeks, Gerrard is optimistic big strides can be made in the next campaign. The Reds finished seventh in May but lost just one of their last 12 league matches. "The final five or six months of the season were fantastic, we showed fantastic form - I think it was top-four form," said Liverpool captain Gerrard.
"We certainly finished the season really strong but we were very inconsistent from August to Christmas - that's the reason why we never managed to achieve what we set out to do, which was a top-four finish. But I felt at times in the season we played some brilliant football.
"If we can find that level on a consistent basis, I've got confidence we can break into the top four.
"The realistic message is to say to the fans that the last four or five months of the season were really positive, we played well. If these (new) signings are positive and successes they can add to those performances.
"If the fans get behind us and show the support that we know they can, I believe we can push into the top four. That would be a fantastic achievement if you look at the standard of the teams in this league."
This year the fixture list has been slightly kinder to Brendan Rodgers, embarking on his second season in charge. In their opening nine league matches they face only one team who finished above them last season.
"It could have been an awful lot trickier," Gerrard told LFC TV.
"We've got to be reasonably pleased with the start we've got but you need to turn up and perform. I look at the fixtures all the time but the most important thing is to not get too carried away and look at that first game (against Stoke). We need to get off to a good start in terms of being positive for that first home game."