Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has set Manchester United, and not Everton, as the perfect example to follow as they look to break into the Champions League places.
The Anfield outfit will play host to the Toffees this weekend knowing that a win for David Moyes’ men will guarantee a second successive finish above them for the first time since 1937.
Everton currently hold the sixth slot in the table, five points ahead of Liverpool, and still nurture a slim hope of gatecrashing into the Europa League.
In contrast, Liverpool’s European ambitions are all but over, with the team now having set their ambitions on finishing above their neighbours in the league standings.
Gerrard admitted that Everton have enjoyed more success than his side this term, but refused to take them as a reference point going into the next season.
The England International underscored that despite undergoing an impressive campaign, Everton ‘are only sixth’ in the table and urged the Reds to emulate Manchester United’s consistency in an attempt to strengthen their Champions League credentials.
“Yes, Everton have been consistent, but they are still only sixth," the midfielder said. “They have had a good season but maybe their targets were slightly different to others around them in the table.
“For real consistency, the example has to be Manchester United. Not Everton.”
“Liverpool, though, is my main concern. Our target at the start of the season was the top four so it's clear our consistency hasn't been good enough."
Liverpool were guilty of being over-reliant on Luis Suarez during the first half of the season, but the arrival of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho in January seems to have taken the pressure off the Uruguayan star.
And the 33-year-old Gerrard heaped praise on the duo for making an instant impact - and feels good summer reinforcements could really fire their top-four charge.
“Sturridge and Coutinho are both signings for the starting XI, and they can both be even better next season," he added. “I'm convinced they will be two big players for us.
“And if you add another striker to that and you have Luis coming back (from a 10-match ban), then that's the firepower we need to be challenging nearer to the top four.”
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