Hodgson: Don't write us off for top four

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson believes his side are more than capable of securing a top-four finish this season and their chances of qualifying for the Champions League should not be written off.

The Reds head into tonight's game at Wigan looking for a fourth successive Barclays Premier League victory, with confidence soaring after the 2-0 win over leaders Chelsea on Sunday.



They are only five points off fourth place which is currently occupied by Manchester City.



With a run of games between now and the turn of the year against teams currently below Roberto Mancini's side, there is a real chance to build some momentum and restore the damage done by a poor start to the season.



However, unlike predecessor Rafael Benitez, Hodgson will not be "guaranteeing" a top-four place.



"I don't wish to play down our chances but I think it is unfair to ask coaches like myself, who have had a bad start to the season and fallen way behind, whether they will be in the top four," he said.



"My answer will only set me up for ridicule later on. I would like to really discuss our top-four potential when we can really see whether it is a truly viable proposition or not.



"I'll keep my powder dry and you can happily question me with six games to go and I'll give you the intelligent answer.



"It is all to play for at the moment and I certainly wouldn't write us off that's for sure but, on the other hand, being five points adrift is clearly not where people want to be."



Although he is reluctant to say it outright, Hodgson believes his team have turned a corner after a disappointing start saw them take just six points from their first eight matches and drop into the bottom three.



He knows this is a crucial period to regain lost ground, but is acutely aware the winning run could end as quickly as it began.



"Everyone is working hard to make sure we try to become a better team, not just a group of talented individuals, because in this league you need that," added the 63-year-old.



"The mindset has always been there. We had a bad start and things weren't going our way and we were a little bit unlucky in one or two games.



"If you analyse the games we have lost they have mostly been against teams away from home who are capable of beating anyone - Manchester United, Manchester City and Everton in the derby.



"We have always had the feeling if we can get our players fit and we can get our best players out there we are capable of giving teams a very good game.



"We don't have any fears in that respect, but we have a relative degree of modesty because we know unless we produce the right performances and get ourselves going in every game from start to finish, we can drop points where we shouldn't drop them.



"Steven Gerrard has said to me on many occasions that getting through this period and then getting some good results will make us stronger because we will never forget the bad period we have had.



"But we will always be anxious it might reappear."



Defenders Glen Johnson (groin) and Fabio Aurelio (Achilles) return to the squad but Sotirios Krygiakos (tonsilitis) and Joe Cole (hamstring) miss out.

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'