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Hodgson eyes improvement on away form

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson believes his improved side have still not reached their peak and wants consistent performances to achieve a top-four spot.

The Reds have comfortably swept aside strugglers West Ham and Aston Villa in successive home games and should have had victory wrapped up in the first half at Tottenham but suffered an injury-time defeat.

Despite a poor start to the season, Liverpool are just seven points shy of Manchester City.

Hodgson expects his players to maintain their current level but still wants an improvement -- particularly away from home.

"We need 22 more (games) like the last three," Hodgson said. "Less than that we will let ourselves down, and if we can do a little bit more still, then I shall be happy.

"There aren't many teams in the league who have a good record, home records seem to be the order of the day.


"The only way to put a poor record behind you is to get the results and we need luck.

"At the moment we are near the top of a middle group but there are still five or six teams way above us -- even Tottenham are six points above us.

"Six points doesn't sound a lot but at the end of the season, six points is going to separate an enormous amount of clubs so we have got a lot to do.

"I'm not trying to dampen enthusiasm or expectations, I'm just trying to be realistic."

Midfielder Lucas Leiva said the team were still aiming to regain their Champions League place but, in order to do that, they had to start winning at places such as Newcastle, this evening's opponents.

"The ambition is to be in the top four and play in the Champions League next year," said the Brazilian. "To get in the top four you have to play consistently as a team. If we can keep the level of the past few games then I think it will be great."

Lucas admits Liverpool have to be wary of the effect a new boss -- Alan Pardew was named the Magpies' new boss on Thursday -- can have on a team.

"The motivation will be high because the players will want to show the manager what they can do," he added.