Reds retain top-four ambitions

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Kenny Dalglish knows Liverpool will face stiff competition in the race to secure a top four berth in the Barclays Premier League this season, but remains convinced his players are within striking distance of achieving their aim.

The Reds currently lie sixth in the table, five points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham ahead of Sunday's clash at Aston Villa, and the 60-year-old Scot believes the squad are making the necessary steps towards reaching their target of UEFA Champions League football next season.

"The teams that are there or thereabouts are really good sides," said Dalglish. "I know two of them got put out of the Champions League but there are still really good sides up there.

"It's going to be tough but we'll have a good go at it and see where it takes us. We just need to keep playing as well as we have done and get that wee bit of extra luck.

"We believe we are doing things the right way so we'll continue to do that because we don't know any other way.

"I think we have played well enough for people to judge for themselves whether we have the quality. We have certainly deserved more points than we have got but we are still progressing.

"We've been delighted with what we have done and we would love to progress into the top four."

Liverpool's trip to Villa Park marks the start of a run that will see them play five matches in 16 days - a festive period that is often seen as a time that can have a significant bearing on a side's season, but Dalglish is unconvinced it will prove pivotal.

"I don't see this part of the season as more important than any of the others," he continued. "I just think every game is important.

"Certainly, the demand on the players is greater at this time and that's when your squad is really tested.

"The people with really strong squads will be able to handle it a little bit easier than the others."

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