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Anfield skipper believes clinical finishing would propel the Reds up the table and admits the Merseysiders should have achieved a much higher placing in the league last season

Steven Gerrard is confident of a top-four finish next season as long as his fellow Liverpool players start being more clinical.

The Reds finished a disappointing eighth in the Premier League last season but the Anfield captain insists his side have the ability to get back amongst the title chasers.

He told The Guardian: "I do think we will get in the top four. I think we will get it. I am confident we will get it.

"I am not being unrealistic. If we can play like we did in a lot of games last season, be clinical and take our chances, I think we will be high up in the table.

"It has got to come. We are Liverpool. We can’t finish eighth. We have got to put that right. We have got to take the criticism for underperforming last year.

"I don’t think it’s ever happened that a team has gone from eighth to first, but there are still other big targets for us to achieve short term. Getting in that top four again is certainly the priority.

Gerrard defended his side's overall performances last season and believes that the Reds were left to rue not getting what they "deserved" from too many matches.

He continued: "I thought we were brilliant at times in the league, it’s just that we never got out of games what we deserved. Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m not going to sit here and make excuses.

"There were other times you would come off thinking no wonder we are sixth, seventh and eighth in the league. We hadn’t played well enough. It was frustrating but if you look at the season as a whole, you can’t use an excuse for finishing eighth. It wasn’t good enough."

The 32-year-old admitted he was not surprised to see Kenny Dalglish leave the club after a disastrous league campaign but hailed new manager Brendan Rodgers and the methods the Ulsterman has been implementing since his arrival on Merseyside.

Gerrard continued: "Kenny knows himself that when Liverpool finish eighth, the owners and supporters are going to ask questions.

"You move on with what the club wanted to do and they wanted Brendan Rodgers in. They wanted a young manager with a vision for the long-term. They want him to bring stability and that is hopefully what will happen.

"I think we’ll definitely see a much bolder Liverpool team and more exciting too, but with a quick transition when we lose the ball.

"There is a lot of hard work and a lot of learning to be done sharpish if we want to implement that straight away. The manager has made me aware of where he’s at and what he’s trying to do - I’ve been really impressed with him."

This will be the third consecutive season that the Reds have been without Champions League football and Gerrard believes the time is now for the squad to stop the rut.

He added: "Those players have got to think how I think and use the hurt of what happened to make up for it. That is the only way you can do it.

"They make their own decisions. I can’t speak for them. But if they ask for my opinion, I would tell them to be patient. Obviously I am biased but I think playing Champions League football for this club would be more special than anywhere else.

"If you perform hard enough and well enough, it will come. That is the only way you get it."

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