Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits it may take four years for Liverpool to compete for Champions League places and suggests he may have left the club before the work he puts in place reaps trophies.
Rodgers grimaced when he related how he had been asked about Liverpool's title prospects for the new campaign and he questioned whether the kind of domination the club enjoyed in the 1970s and 1980s could be repeated. "The challenge is immense," he said. "The club and where it was at over the years – will any club ever do that again? That's a big question. But I certainly think with a club of our status and value to the football world that we can go again. It's going to take time. And whether it will be in my time, I'm not so sure.
"I know what we want to be in the next three or four years. We want to be up there challenging for Champions League places, but I'm not going to commit to any stupid statements now.
"It's about the real world. The club finished sixth, seventh and eighth over the last three seasons. Someone asked me the other day if we thought we could win the league … you know what I mean?"
Although Liverpool supporters will aspire to a fourth-place finish this season, it is unlikely that the club's owners Fenway Sports Group will hold him to that kind of target, which the principal owner, John W Henry, had said was his expectation last season.
Rodgers will be granted a further season outside the top four by supporters if the side's performances pick up, though the Northern Irishman's shrewdness has been evident in the way he has been rooting himself in the city and in the club's past, building credit with supporters. Taking Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler on the tour of North America when the team departs for Boston on Monday is wise, as was Rodgers' appearance in the city-centre Garlands bar at the weekend – something which hasn't escaped the fans' attention. "It's important. I'm someone of the people really," Rodgers said. "I'm someone who respects people and understands that this is a way of life here."