Daniel Sturridge targeting Champions League qualification

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Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has called for caution ahead of their decisive clash against Manchester United this Sunday, reports the club's official website. 

The Reds have been in fine form recently, they are the only Premier League club to be undefeated this year, and Sturridge is calling for prudence.

Although the striker revealed he is optimistic about Liverpool's prospects of securing a place in Europe's elite competition for the second year running, he says the main objective should be to secure fourth spot before even contemplating over-taking both Arsenal and Manchester City. 

On a fine run of form

Coupled with their fine form since the turn of the new year, Liverpool's narrow victory over Swansea on Monday took them within touching distance (four points) of second-placed Manchester City. The striker revealed: "We are in a good moment, the formation is working well.It's great to see and long may it continue." 

Understandably, comparisons can be drawn between the Reds' current rich vein of form and their 11-match winning run of last season when they were pushing for the Premier League Title. Asked if he thought the mood in the dressing room was similar to that of last year's astounding title push, the frontman revealed that there were definite similarities "in terms of how we go out there with a positive attitude, try to play our football, try to break down the opposition and create chances to score goals."

According to Sturridge, an increased confidence and belief in their own ability following a disappointing start to the season has been key to Liverpool's recent resurgence."There has been perseverance and a lot of hard work done by the players to get to where we are. We're going into games with a confident mentality and a positive attitude".

This is a mindset the Reds will have to replicate in the coming weeks if they are to fulfil their objectives of securing a top four place with the "rat race to the finish" looking as hotly-contested as ever. However, the Englishman has urged his teammates to not get ahead of themselves, telling the club's website that: "finishing in the top four is the objective and that's the most important thing for us, it's not about aiming for anything other than that now." 

Turning things around

Indeed, not too long ago, the top four and Champions League football seemed to be out of reach for the Merseyside club as they languished in the bottom half of the table. So for Sturridge, irrespective of finishing second or third, it is essential that they clinch that all important ticket to Europe's elite competition. Certainly, he feels that "the top four is definitely possible for us.

Specifically, it is Liverpool's improved away form which has contributed to their recent ascendance to the top-end of the Premier League table. Their 1-0 victory away to Swansea on Monday confirmed their status as the Premier League's "meanest travellers" as they equalled Bill Shankly's club record of six consecutive clean sheets on the road having not lost a Premier League game in 2015.

It is a new-found defensive resilience which Sturridge chose to highlight in his recent interview, telling the club's website, "everyone is defending very well, Si [Mignolet] is doing extremely well also which is great to see". 

Great to see it is indeed, and Liverpool fans will be hoping this fine run of form will continue on Sunday when they face Manchester United at Anfield with the possibility over over-taking the bitter rivals in the League table. 

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Premier League
Daniel Sturridge
Brendan Rodgers

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