Failure to qualify for Europe could be 'blessing' for Liverpool says Brendan Rodgers

The Reds are battling to qualify for the Europa League

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes their best chance of cracking the top four next season will come with the “blessing” of not competing in Europe.

The Reds boss concedes closing the nine-point gap to fourth place is virtually impossible but even scraping into the Europa League involves a complicated scenario.

Rodgers accepts his side's current seventh spot, three points behind near-neighbours Everton immediately above them, is around about where they deserve to be.

But with a successful summer of recruitment, no international tournaments to affect pre-season and a lack of European football he is confident they can step up a level.

"It is a double-edged sword for us," he said.

"The players and supporters want to be in Europe and as a manager it is a great test and I have really enjoyed the Europa League (which they exited at the last-32 stage) this year.

"But you could argue having one season out of Europe would give us an even greater chance of challenging for the top four next season.

"That is a real difficult task now with the number of teams up there and the finances involved way beyond ourselves but it (the lack of Europa League action) would give us a real good run to do that.

"Ultimately we want to be a club that is in Europe and we want to have a squad which is strong enough to be able to cope with European football and the domestic league and cups.

"We will see where it takes us. We will finish as high as we possibly can but if Europe doesn't end up for us then it might be a blessing for us next year."

With six matches remaining Liverpool are only three points short of last year's tally of 52, which saw them finish eighth and cost Kenny Dalglish his job with the Reds 17 points adrift of the top four.

The chances are that gulf will be less come the end of this campaign - and it would have been much smaller had the club not endured a difficult start and then been dogged by inconsistency just when it appeared they were putting a run together.

And while small steps are being made towards a sustained challenge for Champions League qualification next season Rodgers is under no illusions about the severity of the task.

"It is immensely difficult (making the top four)," he added.

"I think the reality is we are a group who didn't make a very good start and that probably cost us maybe the chance to arrive in there.

"We will keep fighting and working to try to finish as high as we can but we are probably in and around that level in terms of fifth/sixth/seventh.

"For us to get to that next level we need to add more quality to the group in the summer.

"But I genuinely think next season we will have a real good chance of affecting it (top four) because we will be in a much better starting position.

"I have great respect for the players in how hard they have worked after a difficult start to turn it around and to have given ourselves at least the opportunity - that shows the development in the group.

"If it is not to be this year then I would have great hope that next season we would really be able to come together and with quality added in the summer that should give us a genuine chance of achieving that."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea