LIVERPOOL boss Brendan Rodgers insisted his side can finish as high as second after moving to within touching distance of Champions League qualification with victory over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium last night.
A fortuitous Jordan Henderson clincher has left the fifth-placed Reds just two points adrift of Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United and a top-four place.
Such a scenario is a far cry from Liverpool’s plight in November when defeat at Crystal Palace, a third top-flight loss in succession, left the Anfield club a massive 18 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea. Liverpool are now unbeaten in 13 Premier League matches having recorded 10 victories in that period, and have accrued 32 points from their last 12 league games – seven more than champions-elect Chelsea.
“We haven’t done anything yet but certainly from where we were at the beginning of the season, the intent shown and the work put in to claw it back and give ourselves a fighting chance deserves monumental praise,” said Rodgers.
“Our aim is to finish as high as we can, not just to finish fourth. We go three points behind Arsenal and with Manchester City losing at the weekend, there is an opportunity to push on.”
After chalking up a record-equalling sixth clean sheet away from home, Rodgers also hailed the resurgence of keeper Simon Mignolet, a player the former Swansea manager dropped indefinitely in December,
“There’s no doubt Simon is back to his best. We needed him in the first half. He’s been excellent. Clearly now, you see his confidence, along with the team’s,” added Rodgers.
Mignolet denied Bafetimbi Gomis and Gylfi Sigurdsson in the first-half, paving the way for Liverpool’s 68th-minute winner as Jordi Amat’s clearance ricocheted off Henderson and looped over Lukasz Fabianski.