Johnson: Liverpool have improved despite missing out on Champions League

The defender believes that a season which has seen the Reds win the League Cup and reach the FA Cup final cannot be deemed a disappointment, even with their patchy league form

Liverpool defender Glen Johnson insists the Reds have improved this season, despite missing out on their initial aim of securing Champions League football.

Kenny Dalglish's men have endured a disappointing Premier League campaign but lifted the League Cup in February and have secured an FA Cup final appearance in May.

And Johnson believes that those cup runs mean the Merseyside outfit's season must be deemed as a progression on last term.

"Of course, we'd like to be in the Champions League - and that was the aim at the start of the season, to finish in the top four," he told the club's official website.

"But we can't do that now and if we come away with two medals then you can't say it's a negative season. Last season we didn't have any medals or the top four.

"It's an improvement on last season but the main priority is still to get in the top four."

Liverpool have been widely criticised for their profligate finishing this season, which was prevalent again in last weekend's 1-0 defeat to West Brom at Anfield.

The Reds dominated the possession but failed to take their chances and were hit by a Peter Odemwingie sucker-punch following a mistake from Johnson.

And the 27-year-old admitted that his team-mates would prefer to win ugly rather than give the expansive displays which have seen them fail to take enough points this term.

"The fans pay their money and go to the hassle of travelling all that way to watch the team play," Johnson continued.

"It's always nice to put on a show for those fans but I'm sure they'd take an ugly performance and three points - the same as the players would.

"But ideally we'll play well and win. We're not going to make the top four but the higher up the table the better."

The Reds have found themself thwarted by the woodwork on several occasions this season, more than any other side, and the England international rued his side's misfortune.

"I think we've hit the woodwork more than anybody," said Johnson. "If you score half those goals, you've got 15 or 18 more points.

"We have been playing well and not winning games. We played well last week against West Brom - it's probably the best we've played for a while but we ended up losing.

"We've just got to keep working hard day in, day out and hopefully a bit of luck will fall our way.

"Every game we go into we try and win. It's not for lack of trying, but that's what happens in football sometimes."