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 By Mike Whalley

Brendan Rodgers not giving up on title

Brendan Rodgers is adamant that his Liverpool team are still in the race for their first league title since 1990.

Brendan Rodgers shifted the attention squarely onto the referee after Liverpool's defeat.
Liverpool have not won the league since 1990.

Rodgers backed with funds

Rodgers’ side are six points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal ahead of Saturday’s home game against Aston Villa.

The Reds go into that match in fourth place, and with work to do to catch a tightly bunched top three.

Arsenal are one point ahead of Manchester City and two clear of Chelsea -- with a four-point gap then between third and fourth spot.

Rodgers’ men were top on Christmas Day, but have been playing catch-up since, losing at City and Chelsea in the space of four days just before the New Year.

Liverpool, though, still have to face all of the current top three at Anfield this season, and Rodgers believes that offers them ample opportunity to get back into the title race.

He said: “We’ve got all those teams to play at home, and we are six points off the lead, so we have to feel that we are. Our confidence and belief are good. Everyone will talk about the three clubs in front of us, and how they have been in that race over the last few years.

“It’s very, very close at the top, and since Christmas Day, the lead has changed hands a few times. For us, it’s a case of continuing to improve. We have to maintain focus and concentration. We’ve got to keep the standards high.”

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is in line to make his first start since suffering an ankle injury in late November.

Sturridge, 24, made a goalscoring return as a substitute in Sunday’s 5-3 win at Stoke, and his manager believes he has the potential to be “world class.”

Rodgers said: “My opinion about Daniel has only been reinforced during the time I have worked with him. Daniel has a wonderful opportunity over the next couple of years to become world class. He has every tool he needs to be a world-class striker, similar to Luis Suarez.

“He came on during the game last weekend and was superb, which is a great credit to him on how focused he has been in getting back to full fitness.”

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