Liverpool's win over Tottenham Hotspur mid-week helped keep their Top Four aspirations alive for at least another week, but the chances of qualifying for Champions League through table position still remain incredibly slim. With the club still alive in two knock-out competitions, though, Brendan Rodgers feels Liverpool have it in them to go all the way.
"I said at the beginning of the season that the objective was to win a trophy, and so we want to be as strong as we can in every game," Rodgers said. "The team’s in a good condition, mentally and physically. We made a couple of changes (against Palace), but the team has been very consistent. We want to play as many games as we can. It will be tough, but when you’re winning games it gives you energy.
"You’ve seen that this week. We had a tough week of games this week, but the players have been brilliant and come through it well. Now they’ll recover and really look forward to the Europa League, because it’s a competition we really want to do well in."
Advancement to the next round of the FA Cup puts the club one step closer to winning its first domestic trophy under Rodgers, but he's also keen on doing well on the continent as well. Many Liverpool fans have pegged Europa League success as the most likely path back to Champions League this season, and the manager thinks this little bit of extra sweetener makes the tournament more palatable.
"It’s a European competition, a very prestigious tournament, and we are very focussed on doing well in it," confirmed the manager. "We’ve tough games with Besiktas, but we’ll be ready for them. The players are young and hungry, and this is a group that can grow over the next couple of years. But we would like to get a trophy to signify that growth, and the Europa League is a chance for that. The prize does make it more attractive. But we’ve a way to go before we can think of that."
Although key figures in the squad are out due to injury, Liverpool's form seems to have finally coalesced into something resembling how the team were playing last season during their improbably unbeaten streak. With upcoming league matches against both Southampton and Manchester City, Liverpool's Europa League commitments come at an inopportune time, but if the team has indeed made significant growth, they'll be able to put in respectable performances in all four matches.
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