Milner's celebration, a symbol of growing confidence
Milner's celebration, a symbol of growing confidence

James Milner has insisted Liverpool have not at all given up hope of making it to the Champions League.

The Reds’ empathetic 3-0 victory over Manchester City on Wednesday night guided them to within six points of Manuel Pellegrini’s team, who right now sit 4th in the league table.

It is Liverpool’s own inconsistencies that have forced them playing catch-up on the teams above them this season, but Milner now thinks their solid performance against City should be the benchmark as they continue to challenge their rivals.

When asked if he still held out hope of qualifying for the Champions League, Milner reacted: “If we keep playing like that there is no reason why not.

“We have a lot of games to go and a couple of big European games (against Manchester United). Hopefully we can get through that so we have a lot still to play for this season.

“We are disappointed the League Cup chance is gone, but hopefully that will drive us on and give the boys hunger. We were that close and we all want to win silverware, but it is important to finish the season strongly and take that momentum into next season.”

Milner however admitted that win over Manchester City was not enough to heal the wound of their Wembley defeat to the same opponents last weekend, but the exciting  level of performance impressed everybody. But the frustrating thing is that Liverpool have not been able to display it on a more regular basis.

“It was probably the only way we could bounce back,” Milner said. “It doesn’t make anything right or take away the hurt from losing a cup final. That will be there for a long time.

“But I think the character the boys showed after Sunday, to put in a performance like that shows how much character and desire there is in the squad. The only disappointing thing is that we haven’t played like that enough this season.

“But one thing you can always say about the lads in the squad is that they give 100 per cent and the desire is always there.”

Liverpool’s energy and intensity infront of Manchester City was especially excellent given their extra-time exertions at Wembley. Klopp arrived at Anfield back in October with speculations of “full-throttle football” following him from Germany, and here was the exact evidence that his new bunch of players are picking up on his wishes.