Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has conceded that he has struggled to perform to his usual standards in a season which looks set to ultimately end in disappointment.
While Liverpool are still in the hunt for silverware when they look to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit against Benfica in the Europa League on Thursday, their ultimate aim of the Premier League title is a dim and distant memory with a place in next season's Champions League looking increasingly unlikely.
Gerrard's goal against Birmingham in Sunday's 1-1 draw was his first away from Anfield in the league since August, underlining how he has struggled to hit the heights of previous seasons.
He told LFC Weekly magazine: "I'm always honest with myself, first and foremost. I always know when my form is there, or when it's slightly under what it should be at. Whenever I come off a football pitch I know straight away.
"The challenge for me now is to finish the season strongly. It has been frustrating at times this year with injuries and dips in form. I haven't been reaching the level I want to play at, but it can't always be possible. I've got to accept that."
Gerrard also bemoaned the club's poor away form which looks destined to cost them a top-four finish. The Reds have won just four games on the road all term, scoring a mere 14 goals. All the teams currently in the top four have scored more than 30 goals away from their home ground.
He said: "If leagues and trophies were won on just home form, it would be a successful season. But we haven't been good enough on the road; if you look at the stats, they don't lie.
"Away from home it has been frustrating. There is still time to put that right by sneaking into the top four."