Deluded Brendan Rodgers leading Liverpool to failure

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Brendan Rodgers takes charge of his 100th Premier League game as Liverpool manager when the Reds take on Everton at Goodison Park in tomorrow's Merseyside derby.

The Northern Irishman has spoken of his desire to leave behind a proud legacy from his Anfield tenure, but he's risked ruining the club's current season by failing to focus on one specific competition that will result in the collapse of all three ambitious targets laid out at the start of 2015.

After a disastrous start to the 2014/15 campaign, Liverpool have done well to climb back into a position that gives them a genuine chance of qualifying for the Champions League again, with a four-point gap between themselves and high-flying Southampton in fourth place in the table.

Arsenal and Tottenham - in fifth and sixth spot - might have something to say about that, but Rodgers will take confidence from the fact his side are unbeaten in their last seven league games, winning five and drawing two which leaves them occupying seventh with 38 points from 23 matches.

Qualification for Europe's elite club competition should be Liverpool's number one priority if they are going to continue the good work undertaken since the former Swansea boss' appointment in 2012.

Last season they pushed Manchester City all the way in the Premier League title race, but went backwards after the high-profile sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona. The £75 million brought in was replenished in the playing squad as Rodgers tried to add more strength and depth with a view to fighting on all domestic and European fronts this term.

However, with some questionable acquisitions that have failed to find their best form at Anfield, the post-Suarez era has turned out to be even tougher than expected, especially after two injuries to Daniel Sturridge starved Liverpool of their most lethal marksman for the majority of the campaign.

The England international striker made a goalscoring return in last weekend's 2-0 victory over West Ham United, coming off the bench to secure all three points for the Reds within a matter of minutes.

He's in line to make his first start in Saturday's late kick-off against the Toffees, who have struggled to score goals themselves this season with just five from their last seven games.

Roberto Martinez's men have won only once in that period, drawing two and losing four which has left them languishing in 12th place. They head into this weekend's crunch clash off the back of a crucial three points against Crystal Palace following a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park, but despite having home advantage tomorrow will be regarded as underdogs by many in the build-up to the game.

Speaking during his pre-match press conference Rodgers insisted that "anything is possible" and took a little bit of limelight away from the fierce local rivalry by revealing that he is eyeing success in the FA Cup and Europa League as well as securing a top-four finish in the Premier League.

"We are in a European competition and in the FA Cup we can get to the final," the 42-year-old was quoted saying by BBC Sport. "We can challenge not just for fourth place but beyond that. Those are the objectives of the forthcoming months."

On the landmark century of games, Rodgers added: "I've enjoyed every minute of my time here. These two and a half years have been a great experience and I think the football club has moved forward. We now have to rubber-stamp that by winning some silverware."

However, that overzealous approach could be what ultimately costs Liverpool, who travel to south east London to take on Alan Pardew's Eagles in the FA Cup fifth round on 14 February before facing Turkish side Besiktas over two legs in the last 32 of the Europa League.

Rodgers is right to hold those kind of aspirations because he's in charge of one of the most illustrious clubs in the country, and all top level managers have to be ambitious. But, based on the football the Reds have produced over the course of the entire season so far that burning desire is verging on delusion.

The 'one game at a time' mindset is a much more pragmatic way to plan for games especially ahead of one of the most important occasions on many Liverpool supporters' calendars. The significance of the rivalry isn't lost on Rodgers if his pre-match comments are anything to go by, although there is a growing sense that this bigger picture outlook could end up coming back to haunt him.

"Derby games are very exciting...the quality of football is outstanding," - Brendan Rodgers

"Derby games are very exciting," explained Rodgers enthusiastically. "They are wonderful games to be involved in, full of emotion and they go so fast. The quality of the football is outstanding, which is especially impressive as the players are under intense pressure."

That pressure is something that Rodgers might have to get used to if Liverpool fall short of the top four places and drop out of both domestic and European tournaments as a result of their manager's insatiable appetite for immediate success.

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