Glen Johnson has said Liverpool will strive to end the season strongly despite their hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four being all-but extinguished.
The Reds suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat at Hull on Tuesday that left them seven points behind Manchester United in the hunt for the fourth and final Champions League qualifying berth on offer to English clubs.
Realistically, that meant Liverpool’s hopes of playing in Europe next season rest on finishing in a Europa League-qualifying spot.
While the extra fixtures will place a burden on Liverpool next season, Johnson said the club were keen to qualify for the second-tier tournament.
Every team wants to finish as high in the Premier League as possible,” right-back Johnson said.
With the Europa League, you do get a lot more games, but it’s a competition you would rather be in than not,” he added.
We’re all professionals. Otherwise we would not be at a club like Liverpool. We’ve got four more games to concentrate on to try and get a few more points.
That’s what we will concentrate on doing.”
England defender Johnson is out of contract at the end of the campaign and could leave Anfield in the close season.
The 30-year-old has spent six years with Liverpool and wants to ensure his period with the club ends on a high.
Whether this is my last season or not, you still want to be in or around the top four,” Johnson said.
I have always been professional all season, always wanted to play and that’s still what I doing. I’ve got four more games and then let’s see what we do in the summer.”
Liverpool could be without striker Mario Balotelli after the Italian suffered a foot injury in the defeat by Hull but Steven Gerrard could return to the squad after being rested for the trip to East Yorkshire.
Meanwhile, defender Jon Flanagan has suffered a fresh injury blow after undergoing knee surgery.
The 22-year-old had returned to training two weeks ago after suffering an injury during pre-season but a fresh scan revealed another operation was needed and he is likely to be out for at least another six months.
Liverpool are expected to have midfielder Lucas Leiva and defender Alberto Moreno available again after injury.
While Liverpool have relatively little to play for, any points could prove precious for Queens Park Rangers.
The Hoops are second-bottom of the table and four points adrift of safety.
However, manager Chris Ramsey said, thanks to his senior players, that morale at Loftus Road remained high.
The mood has been fantastic,” Ramsey said. We’ve got people like Joey Barton, Clint Hill, Richard Dunne they go around jollying people up and the other players too are making sure the chins aren’t too low to the ground.
Everyone is of the same mindset, we do believe we can stay up, we know it’s going to be difficult but everybody is up for it.”
QPR striker Bobby Zamora is struggling to be fit for the trip to Anfield because of a nagging hip injury.
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