JAY SPEARING insists Liverpool’s European dream is not over – despite their 2-0 defeat against Tottenham at Anfield.
The Reds missed the chance to secure Europa League qualification as Kenny Dalglish’s first game since his permanent appointment ended in disappointment.
They now find themselves in sixth place, a point adrift of Spurs, heading into next Sunday’s final match of the season at Aston Villa.
Liverpool, who are facing the prospect of a first campaign without Europe since 1999/2000, can only hope Harry Redknapp’s side slip up at home to relegation-threatened Birmingham City.
“We have to pick ourselves up and go to Villa Park and try to get three points,” Spearing said.
“It’s still possible because Birmingham need to win at Spurs to stay up. They will put up a good fight there and hopefully we can get the result we need.
“It’s been a disappointing day but if you look back over what we’ve done over the past four or five months I think it shows we are going in the right direction.
“You are always going to have the occasional bad day and unfortunately this was one of them for us.”
It was Spurs’ first league win at Anfield for 18 years and Liverpool’s first home defeat since Dalglish returned to the helm in January.
The visitors went in front courtesy of Rafael Van der Vaart’s stunning volley before a controversial spot-kick from Luka Modric wrapped up the points early in the second half.
Liverpool were infuriated by the penalty decision but midfielder Spearing admitted their performance fell short of their recent high standards.
“We didn’t start the game well,” he added. “From the off we were a little bit slow and they got on top of us.
“In the latter stages of the first half we got back to the way we have been playing, but in the second half we didn’t start well enough. Spurs were on top of us for large periods.
“A lot of us were really disappointed with the penalty decision. The referee gave it straight away but they collided outside the box.
“But there’s nothing we can do about it now so we’ve just got to get on with it.”
Spearing’s excellent form was recognised last week when he was called up into England Under-21s’ provisional 40-man squad for June’s European Championships in Denmark.
The Academy graduate would love to make the cut when coach Stuart Pearce names his final 23-man squad before June 1.
“The last six months have been great and the England call-up has topped it all off,” he said. “If I could play for the under-21s it would be a massive confidence boost.
“I might lose a bit of my summer but I would rather be involved with England than having a rest.
“But we need to focus on Villa.”