Despite recent struggles, the aim must be higher than finishing fourth

Liverpool’s rough form in the winter has suddenly extinguished any lingering hopes of us somehow leapfrogging Manchester City in the title race.

Giving up on the Premier League title is reasonable, considering the enormous distance between City and Liverpool but the idea that the Reds will have to settle for a mere fourth place finish and Champions League qualification is a very cowardly way to think.

Only two of Liverpool’s last 12 games of the campaign are actually against teams currently in the top eight (Manchester United and Chelsea).

Therefore, there is enough reason to believe that second place is within reach if Jurgen Klopp’s men can put a string of positive results together like they did in that period between September and December.

The fact of the matter is that despite all of the criticism thrown at the team for being so erratic, there has actually been some encouraging signs which have to be taken into account for the rest of the season.

Loris Karius has looked promising in goal ever since he replaced Simon Mignolet, and the system of Virgil van Dijk playing at left centre-back (with Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren rotating on the right) should solidify the defense by a long stretch.

Out of the four teams who are still fighting for 2nd-5th positions, Liverpool have the easiest run-in as they face opponents with an average table position of 12th. Chelsea’s upcoming opponents are 11th, Spurs’ are 10.6th, followed by Manchester United’s at 10.5th.

These numbers assume a Chelsea win later this week and United still has Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal to play.

Essentially, those are the matches we need to capitalize on in order to hunt down rivals and narrow the gap.

Of course, none of these estimations are meant to neglect the fact that there are indeed no ‘easy’ games in the English top-flight.

However, the Reds’ record in clashes against sides from the so-called ‘big six’ has proven that there is enough quality to see off all of the weaker teams, whether at home or on the road.

United fans have been given a false sense of security about the runners-up position being wrapped up but that is far from reality.

The big picture can change very quickly in the Premier League and thus, if it is mathematically possible for Liverpool to finish in second place, we have to aim for that instead of limiting our target to fourth spot.