Steve McManaman: 'Top four the aim for Liverpool'

Steven McManaman tells Sports Mole that finishing in a Champions League place should be considered "a wonderful achievement" for Liverpool this season.

Former Liverpool winger Steve McManaman has told Sports Mole that a top-four finish for the Reds this season should be considered "a wonderful achievement".

With a free-scoring Luis Suarez in attack, Liverpool were on the verge of winning a 19th English league title last term until dropped points in matches against Chelsea and Crystal Palace allowed Manchester City to claim the main prize.

Suarez has since departed for Barcelona, while finishing as runners-up has seen the Merseysiders return to the Champions League for the first time in five years.

With the Uruguayan's exit and those added fixtures in mind, BT Sport pundit McManaman believes that Brendan Rodgers's side should target another campaign in which they secure qualification for Europe's premier competition.

"They're going to miss [Suarez] because he scored over 30 goals last season and he's an absolutely fantastic player. Brendan has brought in a number of players, so we will have to wait to see how they cover for him. Liverpool scored a lot of goals last year and they've lost a large chunk of that," said the 42-year-old.

"If they get in the Champions League again this year, that will be a wonderful achievement. It's hard going from 38 Premier League games and some FA Cup games to that, plus Champions League matches and travelling all across Europe.

"It's going to tell on their league form. Of course it's better to have one main competition to focus on like Manchester United, but the best teams play well in all the competitions. If Liverpool want to be considered one of the best around, they need to do that. As a football player, you want to be in the Champions League. They'll be no moaning about the extra games because the players will be looking forward to it - they're wonderful nights.

"The fact that Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal have also invested heavily and I fully expect Manchester United to do the same soon, if Liverpool finish in the top four it should be considered a great season."

Sports Mole also recently spoke to Michael Owen, who shared the same view as his ex Liverpool teammate.

Steve McManaman is a pundit for BT Sport. This season BT Sport will show 38 Barclays Premier League matches exclusively live plus top games from the FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and live action from more top flight football leagues than any other UK TV provider.

Giuseppe Rossi of ACF Fiorentina celebrates after scoring a goal during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and US Sassuolo Calcio at Stadio Artemio Franchi on May 6, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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