John Barnes confident Liverpool will progress in Champions League and finish fourth

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Barnes has backed Liverpool to get through against Basel in the Champions League tonight, and finish in the Premier League's top four.

Liverpool legend John Barnes believes the side will still finish in the top four in the Premier League this season, and can qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League by beating Basel tonight.

The Reds' task in Europe is simple with a winners take all clash at Anfield, and they are currently six points off the Champions League places. 

The league has had a bit of an odd start this season with West Ham United, Southampton and Swansea City upsetting the usual candidates for the European places by making fast starts. Arsenal are currently ahead of the Reds and could be the biggest threat over the season to the Reds consolidating their Champions League status they gained last term.

Barnes told the Liverpool Echo: “If we can beat Basel then it will give a lot of confidence to everyone.

“I know getting through in Europe means extra games but I think it would actually help our league form knowing that come February we’ll still have Champions League football along with the big boys."

The Reds have gone four games unbeaten in all competitions as they have tried to get back to basics following a poor start to the season, but the former winger reckons Liverpool will get stronger as the season goes on.

“Liverpool over-achieved last season. It’s not usual for a team to be that consistent.

“With inexperience comes inconsistency. This is a team which needs time to grow and everyone has to stay together and back the manager.

“Having Daniel Sturridge back fit early in the new year will make a big difference.

“The new signings will improve. It’s too early to judge them now. They will come good."

A lot has been made of the absence of Sturridge with the striker who struck on 24 occasions for the Reds last season sidelined with injuries since September, whilst Mario Balotelli has struggled for form prior to sustaining a groin injury. A lack of goals has been a distinct problem in the Liverpool team as they have tried to tighten up at the other end.

There seems to be some belief that Liverpool will be at least close to qualifying for next year's competition, but a win tonight will have the side confident going into a huge game against Manchester United at Old Trafford at the weekend.

It seems as though Liverpool are going through a stage of trying to reintegrate a few of their summer signings as Brendan Rodgers seems to be using them only when absolutely essential or when he tries to change the game. Some of them have performed well, others not so well, and it is another aspect of the side the Liverpool manager still hasn't got the measure of just yet.

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