The Merseyside outfit are two points ahead of Arsenal following Saturday's 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
"We wanted it in our own hands," Howard told the Liverpool Echo. "We worked so hard to get to this point that we don't want to throw it away now.
"It couldn't be better than that. As much as you keep fighting, if you're having to hope that Arsenal lose, that's draining. To be able to just focus on us is helpful."
The Toffees have five games left to play in their campaign.