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The 40-year-old feels the Reds have a "big year" ahead of them if they can become more consistent but has stressed the need for realism if they are to achieve their long-term goals

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes his side can challenge for a place in the top four next season if they become a more consistent outfit.

The Reds currently sit seventh in the Premier League, 12 points off fourth-placed Arsenal, as the team come to the end of Rodgers' first season in charge.

But the Northern Irishman believes Liverpool have a "big year" ahead of them and that the current campaign was solely about creating a platform for future success.

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"[The top four] is where we want to be," Rodgers told reporters. "The history of this club dictates that but this season was about putting that base in place.

"Next year can be a big year for us if we can add the right type of mentalities to the group and make sure we become more consistent.

"The realism is in the earlier part of the season we got two consecutive wins in the Premier League for the first time in over a year. That is something you have to put into perspective."

The 40-year-old is aiming to bridge the gap between the Reds and those above them next season, but admits fans must be realistic with their expectations.

"My focus is to try to close the gap. We are bridging that gap slowly this year but hopefully we will take a bigger stride next year," Rodgers continued.

"But the reality is very simple: we are 30 points behind the leaders and 12 points behind fourth place so we have a lot of work to do here.

"We know it is a long road but we don't like being second-best and being behind. We don't start the season aiming to finish fourth; the aim is always to win the title. For a club of this status that is the ultimate objective - but you have to be realistic."

Liverpool have drawn 13 Premier League games this season and Rodgers feels his side will become consistent enough to secure Champions League qualification once they convert those draws into victories.

“We need to turn a lot of our draws into victories, which I believe will push us into the top four next year," he added.

"My biggest aim was to try to improve the consistency of the group but if we are going to make the jump into the next phase we have to improve again.

"It is always the aim to finish top - every big club will go in with that ambition - but we know it is a process to arrive there. We are confident next year we can make those steps to keep the progress moving on."

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