The Reds won the League Cup last month but sit 10 points behind Arsenal in the Premier League and are unlikely to achieve their main goal of finishing in the top fourEXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent
Glen Johnson insists this season will be a failure if Liverpool miss out on the Champions League places - despite the Anfield club winning a trophy for the first time in six years.
The Reds won the League Cup at Wembley last month and are in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup where they are hot favourites to book a return to the national stadium when they take on Stoke City.
But Kenny Dalglish’s side have not performed so well in the Premier League, where they sit seventh in the table with 11 games remaining and look likely to miss out on the top-four finish identified as a priority at the start of the season.
Saturday’s defeat to Arsenal left Liverpool 10 points behind the fourth-placed Gunners and Johnson believes “inches” will probably cost the Reds a place in next season’s Champions League.
“I think the season would still be a failure if we miss out on the Champions League,” Johnson told Goal.com at the launch of Topps Match Attax England.
“That was the main objective. The idea was to finish in the top four, no doubt about it. Definitely the main thing for this season and every season is finishing in the top four.
“We’re 10 points behind Arsenal now so it’s going to be tough, we need a lot of luck but until it’s mathematically impossible we will keep trying.
“But I think everyone is pleased we’ve got a trophy. Hopefully we’ll pick up another one and you never know about the top four.
“I heard Steven Gerrard say the other day that the team we have now is better than the team when they were in the top four. You have a top six now fighting for four places, so it shows how strong the Premier League is.
“I think we’ve hit the woodwork 21 times this season. If you take 10 more goals out of that we could have a hell of a lot more points.
“But that’s the difference between the best teams - it's inches.”
Johnson, 27, has played a key role for Liverpool this season, featuring 22 times in various positions and producing impressive displays to justify the club’s decision to spend £17.5 million to sign him from Portsmouth in 2009.
The England international was delighted to win his first trophy at the club at is already eyeing more glory under the guidance of Dalglish, who he likens to Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp.
“That’s why people sign for Liverpool, to win trophies,” Johnson added. “It’s great. It’s nice to get the first one under the belt.
“Every player wants to get as many medals and trophies as possible in their career.
“Kenny was around the club quite a bit before he was manager, we used to see him around.
“I think he is similar to Harry Redknapp in that he’s a great man and a good coach. He’s very relaxed and good with players.”
Johnson, who has been linked in the past with Real Madrid and is learning Spanish, wants to sign a new deal with the Reds but has not ruled out playing abroad one day.
He added: “I’ve got two more years on my contract after this season. I’ve got no intention of leaving so I’m definitely here for the next two years.
“I’m very settled here. The lads have been great from day one and the staff here are fantastic. I’m enjoying every minute of it.
“I’ve never really thought about playing abroad in too much depth, but never say never. A lot of players do like to play abroad.
“I’m not saying I wouldn’t if the opportunity came up but at the moment I’m very happy at Liverpool and I’ve got two more years here.”
Glen Johnson is a brand ambassador for Topps Match Attax England 2012, the Official England Trading Card Game. For further information, please visit toppsfootball.co.uk. Find Match Attax on Twitter @ToppsMatchAttax