Be optimistic! Four reasons Liverpool can still make the top four this season

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We select four reasons for Liverpool supporters to be optimistic while heading into the new season.

Liverpool's season has not gone according to plan so far. 

The Reds went into the campaign filled with optimism that they would be able to put up a title challenge after pushing Manchester City all the way last year. 

However, the mood around Anfield has already been deflated, with anticipation being replaced by frustration and disappointment.

The Reds have looked a shadow of their former selves, putting in a number of tepid performances that have lacked any of the attacking intent shown during the previous campaign. 

Brendan Rodgers' men crashed out of the Champions League to Basel in midweek to further add to the gloom around the Merseyside club but, in this piece, we take a look at four reasons to remain optimistic about Liverpool's chances of breaking into the top four by the end of the season. 

Daniel Sturridge

Losing one striker over the summer was bad enough for Liverpool but losing two was a devastating blow. 

Sturridge and Luis Suarez contributed a combined 53 goals last season and no team in the world would have been able to cope with the loss of the duo. 

Liverpool have looked blunt going forward but they have been without their two main men and some sympathy must be given as a result. 

Although Suarez will not be seen back at Anfield, following his move to Barcelona, there is hope in the sense of Sturridge.

Rodgers and Steven Gerrard both spoke of the England international's importance to the team this week and his return from injury can not come soon enough.

The jet-heeled forward has missed much of the campaign so far but his return to action is edging closer and, with him in the team, Liverpool will improve considerably. 

The gap to the top four

Liverpool have been way off their best yet they still remain only six points away from fourth-placed West Ham United. 

That gap is certainly not unassailable if they can start to pick up form. Liverpool were excellent towards the back end of last campaign and a similarly good string of results will see them close that void considerably. 

What must also be noted is that West Ham and Southampton - the two teams in fourth in fifth currently - are against the odds when it comes to being able to maintain their form over the course of the entire season.

Although both have made brilliant starts, they don't have a great amount of squad depth and, as the games pile up, a dip in form is very possibly.

Arsenal are more likely challengers. The Gunners have had their problems this season and, after only forming a two-point gap on Liverpool, they look easily catchable. 

The January transfer window

Brendan Rodgers may have had a difficult summer, with many of his signings looking misguided, but he has a chance to make up for that in the New Year.

If the Reds are serious about their desire to emulate last season's performance, they are going to need an injection of quality - and next month provides them with a chance to do just that. 

A good January window could resolve a number of issues in the current squad...

Other teams' poor form

This is hardly a vintage Premier League season and Liverpool are amongst a group of teams who are struggling. 

Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton, who would have been considered Liverpool's contenders for a top-four place at the start of the year, have all had their problems this season and it means the league is very open. 

Usually solid teams are slipping up regularly and Manchester United in third place, especially, have flattered to deceive. 

Fourth place is certainly up for grabs and it is far too early to write Liverpool's chances off entirely as only a small improvement in their form will be required to put them right back into contention once again. 

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