After the summer signings of Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Jose Enrique, Alexander Doni, Sebastian Coates and Craig Bellamy, Liverpool have been widely tipped to break into the top four once again.

The latest to have their say is former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier, who believes the Reds will only endure a one-season absence from European competition.

Houllier has singled out the acquisition of Downing as a key component in helping the Merseysiders achieve their goal of competing at European's top table.

Last season, Downing worked under the stewardship of Houllier at Aston Villa, and moved to Anfield after the former Lyon manager was relieved of his duties at Villa Park.


“He’s a Champions League-level type of player," said Houllier.

“He works hard, he can really do the job offensive-wise but also when he has defensive duty, he does it.”

He added: “I think they’ll finish in the top four.

“I believe in them.

“Don’t forget Steven Gerrard is not playing and, when he comes back, he’ll make a difference.”

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