Liverpool fans spent the majority of the 2012/13 season hoping their club could scrape together a top four finish and get back into Champions League. Brendan Rodgers maintained the same hope until the bitter end until it was no longer mathematically possible for the club to achieve this goal, and despite Liverpool's performing in a similarly poor manner two seasons later, the manager maintains his club can still string together enough results to win that fourth, final, and lucrative Champions League spot.
"Yes, absolutely," Rodgers said post-match when asked if fourth place was still an attainable target for his club. "It is always going to be a big challenge. Of course we have to make up points but we have shown this is a club that can go on a run of games.
"In the second half of last season we went on a run of 11 wins. The most important thing is the confidence. Bring Sturridge back in January and we can get back to being that team. We are moving in the right direction."
While it's true that Liverpool went on an incredible winning streak in the second half of the season, it shouldn't be discounted that the team were in first place on Christmas day, which they are decidedly not this year. Those points earned early on played a role in Liverpool ultimately finishing second, and while Rodgers doesn't seem blindly optimistic enough to commit to a title chase this year, more than a few of those dropped points from the last five months are going to factor into the club's fourth place hopes.
Where Liverpool might benefit this year as opposed to two years ago is that they're not the only team that has underperformed. Across the league, teams are losing winnable games and dropping points left, right, and centre. Many of those are starting to put two and two together to find some decent form, but if Liverpool are able to keep improving their own performances as they have in the last three matches, they should be able to keep pace with the rest of the league rather than falling farther behind.