Johnson confident of title chances
Published 31/03/2014 | 15:02
History may now be starting to weigh a little heavier on Liverpool but defender Glen Johnson insists they are professional enough to see the job through and end a 24-year wait for the league title.
A comprehensive 4-0 victory over Tottenham - which saw them break Manchester United's Premier League record by scoring four or more in a game for the 11th time in a season - took the Reds back to the top of the table for the first time since Christmas.
This time, however, there are only six matches to go and victory in all would secure their 19th title.
Many expected Liverpool's challenge to have faded by now but since being beaten in successive matches by rivals Manchester City and Chelsea in late December they have gone from strength to strength, winning 11 and drawing two in a remarkable unbeaten run which has seen them win their last eight games.
"Any team who is top of the league at this stage deserves to be there," Johnson said.
"This is a difficult league with a lot of tough games but I think we can stay there.
"This is a fantastic club. Everyone involved here loves it and wants to win the league badly. We want to get the club back where it should be.
"But being top now is only significant if we stay there. Forget the league table, just win at Upton Park (against West Ham on Sunday).
"Playing in the best league in the world, the hardest thing is to go game by game.
"Every day you've got your mates texting you and you see on the news how close you are.
"But everyone here is professional. Every time we come here we have a job to do.
"We just need to think about West Ham away next Sunday now and concentrate on that.
"I'm sure everyone is looking forward to those big home games against Manchester City and Chelsea but we have to take care of West Ham first otherwise those games might not be as relevant.
"We have to make sure we win our next game. We all know what's expected of us and we're all confident."
Liverpool received an unexpected boost before they had even kicked off against Spurs after leaders Chelsea lost at Crystal Palace and City were held to a draw by Arsenal.
That only heightened the sense of anticipation at Anfield on Sunday but they did not have to wait long to have their nerves eased.
"We always try to start well and get out of the blocks quickly and we did that well," added the England international, whose point was backed up by his side scoring in the first half for the 21st consecutive match.
"Scoring after 100 seconds was just the perfect start to the game for us.
"We put them under pressure and they could barely keep hold of the ball.
"There wasn't really any extra incentive with Chelsea and City dropping points. We know we need to try to win every game.
"Of course when others drop points it's helpful but we just need to be worrying about ourselves at the moment. I thought everyone was fantastic. It was a real team effort."
Johnson is just a couple of months away from entering the final year of his contract and while there has been no new deal forthcoming the defender, who is 30 in the summer, is keen to extend his Anfield career.
"Yeah, of course I want to stay here," he said.
"I've always said to Brendan (Rodgers) that I am loving it here and I want to be here for years to come.
"Hopefully we can get something sorted this summer."
At the start of the season Tottenham had high hopes of qualifying for the Champions League but their form against the top four in particular has been woeful and virtually rules out a return to Europe's elite club competition.
They have taken just one point from eight matches, scoring just twice and conceding an incredible 27.
"It is something we need to look at but it is too late now because we have six games left, none of them against teams above us," said boss Tim Sherwood.
"But we certainly need to address it if we want to be aspire to be one of the top teams in the division."
Defender Jan Vertonghen (knee) and striker Roberto Soldado (ankle) will both be assessed this week after coming off injured at Anfield.
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