BRENDAN RODGERS wants his Liverpool team to go top-six shooting in the remainder of the season – and prove to themselves that they can live with the Premier League’s big guns.
Despite a stirring second half display at Old Trafford on Sunday the Reds fell just short against the leaders – and it has been a similar story whenever Liverpool have faced any of the division’s front-runners.
But with greater self belief the Reds boss believes that can quickly change.
“It’s not a problem mentally,” Rodgers insisted.
“We should have beaten Man City earlier on, we should have beaten Everton – but we haven’t.
“It’s not something mental, but it’s something we need to do if we’re going to progress.
“I feel that we’re a match for any of the teams in this league. But what allows you to close the gap in terms of the points is obviously having the squad that allows you to compete.
“We were unlucky not to win the game earlier in the season (v Man United) at Anfield, and then obviously on Sunday you could argue we deserved something from the game.
“So it’s just having that squad which allows you to change the game in other matches.
“Manchester United were 2-0 down against Aston Villa, made changes and went on and won the game 3-2 in the end.
“Unfortunately we haven't been able to do that.
“But over the next couple of windows if we can keep improving the group, then we can challenge.”
With Arsenal, Manchester City and seventh-placed West Bromwich Albion all looming in the fixture list, the Reds could have an opportunity to secure that confidence boosting win very soon.
Such a victory could even assume the significance of the pivotal FA Cup tie which is reputed to have transformed Alex Ferguson’s fortunes at Manchester United.
It was 23 years ago that a late Mark Robins goal at Nottingham Forest was credited with saving Ferguson’s job.
And Rodgers recalls the moment well.
“We’ve been close in a number of the games against the guys at the top end of the league and that’s the next step for us,” he added.
“To win those games can set your journey off in a totally different direction.
“That’s what I said to the players afterwards. This is a football club here that has dominated for many years.
“And you look back and people still talk about the game against Nottingham Forest here that was a defining moment really. They won that game in the FA Cup and went on after that.
“So for us we’ve got great hope in the future in how we’re working that that will happen here.
“It might be a long journey for us, but to close the gap in the squad and get those wins against the rivals, we’ll gain confidence from that.”