Rodgers banking on a Reds-style crash for top four

Ross McLean
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Sturridge has played just 18 times this term
LIVERPOOL boss Brendan Rodgers has not given up hope of one of the current top four mirroring his side’s late collapse last season and opening the door for the Reds to snatch Champions League qualification.

The Anfield club were on course to land a first top-flight title for 25 years before skipper Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip against Chelsea and the squandering of a three-goal lead at Crystal Palace gifted Manchester City the Premier League crown.

This year, the Reds sit seven points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester United ahead of their game in hand at Hull City tonight, but were given renewed encouragement by their closest rivals’ surrender at city rivals Everton on Sunday.

“We can only focus on ourselves but we saw last year that lots of changes can take place in the last five games or so,” said Rodgers. “We just have to be prepared to give everything to finish as high as we can.

“It will be a tough game away at Hull but for us the idea is to go in and see if we can get the victory and keep putting as much pressure as we possibly can on the teams above.

“Manchester United have a clear advantage but we can only affect that by winning our games.”

Rodgers has confirmed that Liverpool could be without injury-plagued England striker Daniel Sturridge, who has missed the last three games with a hip problem, for the remainder of the campaign.

The 25-year-old has made just 18 appearances across all competitions this term, initially missing five months of the season with a thigh injury picked up while on international duty before suffering a setback with his groin prior to Christmas.

“When he’s been fit, he’s been brilliant,” added Rodgers. “It’s just about getting him back on a consistent basis. Whether that’s this season, or pre-season, has to be seen.”