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 By Mike Whalley

Rodgers: Reds title is too big a leap

Brendan Rodgers has said there are no limits to his ambitions as Liverpool's boss, but believes it is asking too much for them to jump from seventh place to Premier League champions in a year.

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Rodgers' side, who topped the table on Christmas Day, are arguably back in the title race after a thumping 5-1 win over Arsenal last Saturday.

That result allowed Chelsea, who are six points clear of Liverpool, to overtake the Gunners at the top of the table.

But Rodgers has maintained all season that his priority is a top-four finish and qualification for next season's Champions League.

Liverpool finished seventh in the Premier League last season, and the manager was quick to point out that no team in recent history had been champions of England after finishing so low the previous season.

The last team to make such a jump to win the title were Everton, who were seventh in the old First Division in 1984 and champions a year later.

Rodgers said: "There is self-belief here. I came here to challenge for titles, so there is no limit to our ambitions.

"I came to this great club hoping I would be here for a number of years in order to bring success and continue the great work that people such as Kenny [Dalglish] did here before I arrived.

Brendan Rodgers feels Liverpool should be taking things a step at a time.
Brendan Rodgers feels Liverpool should be taking things a step at a time.

"The momentum is building. I just think it's unprecedented to go from where we were last year -- seventh position [to the title]. I'm a realist.

"I'm very much full of optimism for this football club and the development of the team. I also have to be realistic, but that doesn't stop us fighting and wanting to be the best we can be. And at some point in my time here, we will be ready."

There has been much talk over the last week of how many horses there are in the title race, prompted by Jose Mourinho's comments a week ago.

Rodgers responded last Saturday by suggesting that Liverpool were no more than a foal, but speaking ahead of his side's Premier League trip to Fulham on Wednesday, he said: "I don't focus on the background noise that you guys [the media] try to create when you need a story. I won't talk about horses. I'll just talk about football."

He also dismissed the idea that Liverpool were at an advantage going into the closing 13 league games of the season because they are the only team in the top four without the distraction of European football.

"I haven't seen the facts anywhere to say that a team who haven't been involved in Europe have won the league," he said. "I've never seen that.

"The teams who are fighting for the Champions League places are in there because they have the strongest squads. It's all relative."

If Liverpool were to win the league this season, they would be the first team to do so with no European distractions at all since Leeds United in 1991-92.

He praised defender Martin Skrtel, who struck twice against Arsenal, saying: "His performance level, consistently, has been really high. He's up there with the top centre-halves, the very, very top centre-halves, in this league.

"I'm delighted for him because he's a good man, and he's shown that even if you're a top international player, if you're willing to learn and improve, you can. He's getting his rewards for it."


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