“Always aim for winning the league; even if you miss, you'll land among the Top Four.”
— Old football proverb, probably
One of the few problems with currently being in first place is that it makes it impossible for Brendan Rodgers to speak effusively about wanting to make the Top Four. This would bring comfort to those who grew weary of Top Four talk last season if it didn’t mean that Rodgers had now moved on to making tentative suggestions towards a title run.
"The more you're up there at the top, the more aggression and will and desire you have to stay there,” Rodgers said. "It's only four games in but we've had four tough games and we have only lost once in the last 17 games now. We are getting a level of consistency, and that was the biggest thing for me.
"When I came here last year, there was no consistency in the performance. But now we are just churning out wins and if we can't win we are drawing games with resilient performances, like in the last 25 minutes against Swansea.
"I still believe we will get better and more fluent as the season goes on, so we are happy to be top and we are ready for a fight to stay there."
With the success Liverpool have had so far, Rodgers is backed into a bit of a corner when it comes to talking targets in the league. Talking about Top Four when you occupy first place sounds like a lack of ambition, and Rodgers is not wrong that the club are still working their way towards their top gear, especially with Luis Suarez yet to take the pitch this season. With improved form to come, where else can you go but up, and what does that mean when you’re already in first place?
To be fair to Rodgers, saying the club are prepared to scrap for top spot is not the same as saying he expects the team to be on title winning form for the remaining thirty-four games of the season. Earning Champions League qualification is a heck of a lot easier if after four games you’re in first place than if you’ve dropped significant points in the first month of the season. Liverpool are eight points better off than they were this time last year, and that’s eight points they won’t have to make up in the final stretch of the season in their quest to finish Top Four.