Hodgson holds top-four hope

Image: Hodgson: Optimistic

Roy Hodgson insists it is still possible for Liverpool to gatecrash the top four this season.

Reds boss believes Champions League spot is achievable

Roy Hodgson insists it is still possible for Liverpool to gatecrash the top four this season. A torrid start to the 2010/11 campaign threatened to undermine the Reds' efforts, with their UEFA Champions League dreams fading fast. They have, however, been able to establish some consistency since then, with stability achieved on and off the field. A 3-0 victory over Aston Villa on Monday was their fifth success in eight outings and they are now just seven points adrift of Manchester City in fourth position. Hodgson, who remains under pressure to deliver results, is convinced that Liverpool can catch the frontrunners, with the uncertainty which accompanied managerial and boardroom changes now a thing of the past.

Rebuilding

"We'd like to think so," he told the club's official website when asked if the Reds can catch the top four. "But when you start as badly as we did then it's sensible for us to keep our feet on the ground. "We are in something of a rebuilding process. As many as 20 to 22 players have left since I arrived here and very few have come in. "But right from the beginning I've had the impression that the players are behind the work we are trying to do. "We didn't get the results at the beginning but I never doubted we would become a more solid team. It was just a question of when our quality players would bring their quality to bear."
Understanding
Among those Hodgson feels have raised their game over recent weeks are Argentine wide-man Maxi Rodriguez and England international full-back Glen Johnson. He said: "Maxi Rodriguez is a very intelligent player. Despite the fact I do not speak Spanish and he doesn't speak that much English, we've always had a good understanding together. "He knows what I want and I've been happy to see him do it on the field." Hodgson added: "Glen Johnson is now different to the Glen Johnson we saw at the beginning. He's playing with confidence and is doing extremely well. "It's the same with Fernando Torres recently. He's different to the one in the opening games. Now we are working together every day and we are seeing better team performances."

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