Have Liverpool been plotting a title tilt all along? Or have they 'found' themselves in this position?

Brendan Rodgers has played down expectations for much of the season but there has been the odd hint from within the squad along the way that they may have been after the title all along.

For much of the season Liverpool have been playing their title expectations down. Manager Brendan Rodgers has been talking about taking things one game at a time and that finishing in the top four was always the target for the Reds this season.

The Reds boss has also come up with phrases such as wanting Liverpool to ‘be in the conversation’ and quipped that his side are the chihuahuas of the title race when Jose Mourinho labelled Chelsea as the ‘little horse’.

But it seems there has always been a certain belief in amongst the Liverpool camp that they could be real title challengers, rather than just challenging for next season's Champions League.

Defender Kolo Toure said Liverpool could still be champions after a defeat to Arsenal earlier on in the season. It was in November after only the Reds’ second defeat of the season following a terrific start.

He said: "This is only November. They will have a hard time as well. The season is not done yet, definitely.

"Both Arsenal and Liverpool definitely have what it takes to win the title. Two great teams, with great spirit.”

After the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa at Anfield, when it looked like a tall order for Liverpool to get themselves into the title picture, the Ivorian said: "We are still in that (title race) because every team can lose points. 

"For us we just need to think about the next game 100%, try to win and be positive.

"Other teams will make errors. We just need to maintain our focus and believe in ourselves. In 16 games a lot can happen."

It wasn’t just Brendan Rodgers downplaying talk of the title, though. Steven Gerrard also said that Liverpool weren’t going for the league early on in the season.

"I'd never say never about our chances of winning the Premier League title. But if I'm being honest, that's not the aim. The aim is for a top-four place."

The public image may have been different but it does beg the question if Liverpool have been going for the title all along, rather than just finding themselves in the position they are in right now.

If they have been aiming for the title from the off, the expectations have been managed incredibly well thus far.

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