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Sporting Kansas City
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 By Mike Whalley

Liverpool can reach top four - Rodgers

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes he has built a squad capable of ending their four-year absence from the Champions League.

Walsh: Liverpool season preview

The Reds won the competition in 2005 and were finalists two years later, but have not played in it since December 2009, during Rafa Benitez’s final season in charge.

Under Rodgers, the club finished seventh in last season’s Premier League, 12 points off a top-four spot, as they failed to qualify for Europe altogether.

The manager has brought in four summer signings to strengthen his squad -- goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, centre-back Kolo Toure, midfielder Luis Alberto and forward Iago Aspas -- and hopes to add a fifth with the prospective £5 million capture of Granada left-back Guilherme Siqueira.

Rodgers was thwarted in his attempts to sign Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar Donetsk, with the Armenia international instead moving to Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund.

But he believes Liverpool, who kick off their Premier League campaign at home to Stoke on Saturday, are well equipped to secure a top-four finish in 2013-14.

He said: "I think it’s the measure for you. It will always be for any manager here. The measure is always the Champions League.

"But I believe we can have a real push this year. It’s going to be very tough -- even tougher, when you look at the clubs who are already in there.

"They’ve been in there for a number of years and reinforced their groups, so it’s going to be a very, very tough ask.

"But I believe -- with the mentality in our group, in our work, in our focus -- that we’ll be in with a chance this year.


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