Could this season, from any perspective, be regarded as a success for Liverpool?

Potential title ambitions at the start of the season have been dashed, but with the FA Cup still up for grabs can this season still be a success for the Reds?

At the start of the season, despite losing Luis Suarez, there was still hope of some kind of title tilt amongst Liverpool fans after nine new faces came in. It may have been a big ask, but the natural ambition after coming so close to winning the title one season is to make a good go of lifting the crown next term.

Finishing in the top four again, having returned to the Champions League for the first time in five years, would have cosolidated their return to the big time, so to speak - and demonstrate real progress over a slightly longer time span.

But as a result of their poor start to the season - which saw them in the bottom half of the Premier League and out of the Champions League - Liverpool needed to play catch up. It now looks unlikely they'll return to Europe's premier competition as a result of the slow start, and a couple of disappointing results in the Premier League in recent weeks, with the Reds seven points adrift.

Let's wind back to that defeat to Crystal Palace in November, where Brendan Rodgers admitted his job was on the line after a humiliating 3-1 reverse.

The fact Liverpool managed to recover and get themselves back in the race for the top four from then on is to the manager's credit. In the meantime they were unlucky to miss out on a League Cup final appearance after going out to Chelsea in extra-time in the semi-finals.

Many fans could have been forgiven for thinking that in November, their season would be over by now, there would be no silverware to target, and they would be trying to earn some respectability. That's already been earned. Though it looks unlikely they will finish in the top four - though by no means impossible - one would expect Liverpool to be in the Europa League next term.

Now they're in the semi-final of the oldest cup competition in the world, and will be favourites to progress against Tim Sherwood's Aston Villa. A trophy and fifth place wouldn't be a bad season, though there would be a tinge of disappointment attached to it.

Factor all that in, along with others suggesting they'd finish lower than fourth before a ball was kicked, and it's all about perspective. The Reds have certainly had worse.

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