No trophies and seventh in the league… but Johnson insists Liverpool have improved
06:15 GMT, 9 April 2013
06:15 GMT, 9 April 2013
Glen Johnson insists Liverpool's season has been 'clearly better' than the last campaign which ended with them winning a trophy and qualifying for Europe.
Liverpool, whose hopes of top six finish were dented by a 0-0 draw with West Ham, never threatened to repeat their exploits of last year in knockout football when they reached both domestic cup finals, winning the League Cup against Cardiff.
Bar a huge turn of events, it is almost certain they will miss out on a place in the Europa League next year, too, as they are running out of games to overhaul Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton.
Woe: Liverpool failed to break down a dogged West Ham defence at Anfield last weekend
Johnson, though, is adamant that Liverpool – who are set to surpass the points tally of 52 they accrued 12 months ago – have made far greater progress under Brendan Rodgers than the Barclays Premier League table would suggest.
'I wouldn't say it (has been) so close but so far,' said the England right-back. 'It is clearly a better season than last season. Brendan is looking to improve the squad and we have got a better squad than we did have. He will look to improve again in the summer.
'If we can nick the goals we need from games (like against West Ham), we will be right in amongst it (next season).'
When asked why he felt it was a 'clearly better season', Johnson replied: 'It's a few things. You look at the squad, the feeling that there is around the place, the football that we are playing – 8 times out of 10, we have been battering teams.
Past glories: Liverpool won the Carling Cup last season but will finish this campaign without a trophy
'That wasn't the case last season. We won a trophy last season and, of course, that was fantastic. Everyone wants to win. That's what we are in the game for. But in terms of getting Liverpool back where they belong, we want to be back in the top four.'
Johnson, who has been one of Liverpool's most consistent performers under Rodgers, believes it is vital for the club's critics to look at this season in isolation, as he is adamant there will be significant improvement when things are fully settled.
'Brendan was brought in to rebuild the squad and put Liverpool back into the places that it should be (as a club),' said Johnson. 'He wants to put us back in the top four but he wasn't asked to do that in his first season. This season has been a step closer to that.
Main man: Glen Johnson (centre) praised manager Brendan Rodgers for his impact at the club
'Everyone – players, staff, fans – would love us to be back in the top four but if we improve on last season then it is a step in the right direction. We are still pretty close to the top four. If we can start nicking games like West Ham, we are going to be right in amongst it.'
Meanwhile, Liverpool target Toby Alderweirled has stated that he would prefer a move to Anfield this summer. The Belgian defender is expected to leave Ajax and has been courted by a number of English clubs, including Newcastle and Everton.
'I do not want to play for an English club in mid-table,' said Alderweirled. 'Unlike Newcastle, Liverpool meets my criteria.'
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