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May 27, 2013

Sterling: Reds are top-four contenders

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is confident the Anfield club can challenge for the top-four of the Premier League next season.

• Rodgers wants 'winners'

The Reds finished outside the top five this season, failing to grab a spot in Europe and, most galling for the club's massive contingency of fans, ended the campaign behind cross-town rivals Everton.

And Sterling, missing much of the second half of the season through injury, could only watch on as the team struggled to make an impact on the ladder.

But the 18-year-old believes the club are better than their position on the ladder and has hinted that a resurgent Reds will quickly rise up the table.

"We can definitely be in the top four," Sterling told BBC Sport.

"We finished the season strongly, so hopefully we can start the new one that way and push for a good position."

And Sterling believes new recruits Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, combined with the philosophy of manager Brendan Rodgers, will be the catalyst for the club's ascension.

"The two signings we brought into the club in January - Coutinho and Sturridge - really kicked the team on," added Sterling.

"I am really looking forward to getting a chance to play with them and have a good season for the team.

"You have to remember this was the manager's first season in charge.

"But you can see the difference he has made, even though we haven't finished in the top four.

"You can see the kind of thing he will do next season."

And with a strong pre-season, and a good start to the season, Sterling is hoping England manager Roy Hodgson will come knocking with a spot in the Three Lions in tow.

Sterling has only one international cap to his name but is refusing to give up on his dream of playing in the World Cup in Brazil next year.

"Anyone's dream is to go to a World Cup," said Sterling.

"I have to be realistic and take it step by step, game by game next season.

"I have to try and be a regular for Liverpool first and then hopefully get a chance to get a place in the squad for the World Cup.

"Hopefully next season I can have the same impact again.

"The injury is getting better. I should be back for pre-season."

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