Sunday 19 November 2017

Liverpool must make home advantage count in push for Champions League football, insists Glen Johnson

Liverpool defender Glen Johnson believes the team have to capitalise on home advantage to maintain their bid for a Barclays Premier League top four place.

The Reds are just four points adrift of city rivals Everton, who currently occupy the final Champions League qualification spot, with back-to-back home matches against Aston Villa and Fulham to come.

While Anfield has not been the fortress manager Brendan Rodgers wants so far this season the Reds have won their last two there to take their tally to 12 points from eight home matches.

And with Sunday's victory at West Ham being the first time since last December Liverpool won successive league games there is a feeling momentum is building.

"It's important to get back-to-back wins," said Johnson, who has been one of the Reds' players of the season so far.

"We've probably played a lot better than our points total suggests this season but it's great to now have two wins on the bounce.

"We've got a week now to prepare for the next game and we have a couple of home games to come so we can really try to push on and climb up the league.

"It's a tight league. Anyone can beat anyone these days so you have to be on top of your game no matter who you are playing.

"That's why it is one of the best leagues in the world. No-one can guess what is going to happen."

Victory at Upton Park was achieved without suspended 13-goal striker Luis Suarez, which meant midfielder Jonjo Shelvey was pressed into service up front.

Johnson himself has excelled this season despite having to play some of it at left-back and he admits versatility adds strength and variety to the side.

"We play the way we play, with or without Luis, and I thought Jonjo did fantastically well on Sunday," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"I think at the start it was a bit unusual for him, but he found his feet and I thought he did very well.

"That's what you have to do these days. You have to be willing to play in other positions and do a job for the team when they need you to.

"It's a long season, and throughout the year you're going to get injuries and suspensions and you might have to play in positions you're not used to - but that's fine.

"There are not many players that can only play in one position these days."

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