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Gerrard sets sights on top five

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says the club must deliver "the perfect finish" to the season if they are to finish in the top five.

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The Reds have not finished higher than sixth since 2008-09, but the new owners have made clear that a return to the Champions League is a priority. With Liverpool currently sixth, seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and having played an extra game, it would appear that they may have to wait a little longer to achieve that aim.

After a run of three successive wins, though, Gerrard is hoping the Reds can produce a strong finish to the campaign and, at the least, claim a place in the Europa League by securing fifth.

"Liverpool don't belong in seventh, eighth or ninth in the table," he said. "We want to push for the European places year after year. Hopefully it's not too late but we will need to produce the perfect finish to sneak in the back door."

Liverpool are currently two points behind Arsenal, who have a game in hand, and Gerrard added: "The top five places are the target. Let's see what happens in other big games that are not in our control. Hopefully the teams above us will slip up. All we can control is our performances and our consistency and hopefully we will finish strong."

Liverpool had been struggling to secure positive results against teams in the top half this season, but they beat Swansea last month and then, most impressively, beat third-placed Tottenham 3-2 on Sunday.

"I think this season has been slightly strange in the way that usually we do really well against the top sides and we slip up against the sides we should be beating, but we have been putting those sides away quite comfortably with three, four and five-nils and looking really good," Gerrard said. "We haven't got the points we've needed against the top sides.

"This result and performance (against Spurs) will give us great confidence and belief. Hopefully it will be a springboard for us to go on and finish the season really strongly.

"At times we haven't got what we've deserved against top sides but we can't look for excuses. We are where we are and we need to take responsibility for where we are in the league.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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