Yossi Benayoun has revealed the disappointment and frustration in the Liverpool squad at failing to match their performance levels of last season and being out of contention for major domestic honours.
The midfielder admits the Reds hopes of qualifying for the Champions League are now out of their own hands after being held to a 1-1 draw at Birmingham which left them four points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City - having played a game more - with just five matches remaining.
The former West Ham player said: "It is hard to explain. There is a big difference between last season. Performances were much better then and we had more confidence. This season we started badly in the very first game."
He added: "Yes, there was a moment when we thought we were coming back but then we disappointed ourselves with a few bad games.
"It is very difficult when you are not close to the top and you do not feel as if you have the chance to win something. It is disappointing but we will keep going.
"We are fighting for fourth place. I know it is important but it just isn't the same. We have made it harder but all we can do is play the last five games and see what happens.
"We are now depending on other results and this makes it more difficult. It was a big chance at Birmingham. They are a good team but we had to win, especially after Tottenham lost at Sunderland.
"We have to keep believing but it is very disappointing. All we can do now is think about the next game. We know we need to win and we have to play much better."
Striker Fernando Torres looked unhappy at being substituted midway through the second half shortly after Liam Ridgewell's goal had cancelled out Reds skipper Steven Gerrard's opener.
But Benayoun said: "Substitutions are part of the game and it is the job of the manager to do what he thinks is best for the team."
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