A defiant Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool have shown the “quality, desire and confidence” to still finish in the top-four this season.
The Reds produced a display of attacking brilliance against Arsenal but needed a goal from Martin Skrtel seven minutes into added time to salvage a point.
Liverpool will enter the Christmas holiday in 10th place nine points off a Champions League place having endured their worst ever start to a Premier League campaign.
No team has ever finished higher than sixth with the same points haul after 17 games, but Rodgers is convinced his side can make up the gap, with injured striker Daniel Sturridge set to return in the New Year.
Rodgers said: “I think we can make an impression on the top four in the second half of the season. Absolutely.”
“It is always going to be a big challenge, of course. We have to make up points – but we have shown this is a club that can go on a run of games.
“In the second half of last season we went on a run of 11 wins. The most important thing is the confidence – we have shown real confidence, our performance was outstanding in the passion and intensity. Bring Sturridge back in January and we can get back to being that team.
“I really felt we played better and dominated more than when we beat Arsenal here 5-1 last season. I thought we were brilliant, and when we play our game, we are a difficult team to play against. Hopefully it will bring us in to what we have had in my time here, being stronger in the second half of the season.”
I agree partly with what Rodgers says. When Sturridge comes back Liverpool will get the goalscorer that they have been missing all season. Plus Southampton in fourth and West Ham in fifth have had terrific first half’s to the season, but at some point you expect that those two teams will wake up and realize that neither of them are top six sides.
The challenge for Rodgers and Liverpool is that both Arsenal and Spurs are still ahead of them in the table. Liverpool need to catch and overtake both North London clubs and that might be difficult.
Liverpool’s best path to the Champions League next season might actually come via their failed Champions League campaign this season. They have been put into the Europa League, where the winner of that competition automatically gets a place in next season’s Champions League.