Rodgers eyes top-four finish despite loss to Hull
KINGSTON UPON HULL
LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers is refusing to write off their chances of finishing in the top four of the Premier League, following their 1-0 defeat at Hull City on Tuesday.
However, it is significant that he is already planning how to strengthen his team ahead of next season.
Rodgers is realistic enough to know that their Champions League ambitions are surely over as they lie seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, with an inferior goal difference and only four games to play.
A place in the Europa League is also far from assured, underlining why Rodgers is under pressure after a season when they have been unable to cope with the sale of Luis Suarez and injuries to Daniel Sturridge, the two men whose goals were so important to Liverpool last season.
"You can't hide the fact we've lost over 50 goals," said Rodgers.
"Even with those players, we weren't tipped to get in the top four and we haven't got those players now. We have to work with what we've got.
"Now, we have to look to improve the squad and it's always great if you can get marquee players to come in and help you. The owners will support that.
"We want to be in the top four, but that was always going to be difficult because we were playing catch-up for a lot of the season.
"We lost a couple of big games, which dented our confidence a bit. I need to build a team that can get through the rough waters as well. We need a team that can get through the smooth and the rough.
"That will be my challenge - to rebuild a group that can get through the rough waters."
Whether the Reds will be able to woo them to Anfield without the attraction of the Champions League is debatable, but the fact that Liverpool require at least two of those "marquee men" was obvious in their latest setback at the KC Stadium, where Michael Dawson scored the 37th-minute winner for Hull.
Dawson's goal was his first in 16 months, and Hull manager Steve Bruce insisted that it earned them a success that their performance warranted.
"We deserved it because of the way we played," said Bruce, who has had a tough season a year after guiding them to the FA Cup final.
"We caused a threat all night and defended well, which you have to do against Liverpool.
"We have 34 points, but I don't think 34 is enough, so we still need a couple of results, but we are certainly in a better position than four days ago. The job isn't done and (we've) got to stay resilient for the next four games."