Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson insists their bid for European football is far from over despite defeat at Southampton.
The Reds' three-match winning run in the league, which had raised slim hopes of sneaking into the Champions League, was brought to a shuddering halt with the 3-1 loss at St Mary's. However, while the top four - now nine points away - is realistically out of reach, Henderson believes seventh-placed Liverpool can still secure a place in European competition next season.
He said: "It was a big disappointment against Southampton but Europe's not gone yet. We've still got eight games to play and that's a lot of points to play for."
He added: "We've still got to play some of the teams above us so we have to keep going.
"We have to pick ourselves up from this and ensure we respond positively against Aston Villa after the international break."
Henderson has played just 56 minutes in the league since his last start on February 11.
He accepts it has been difficult to break into a winning side but is hoping for an opportunity with Joe Allen set to have an operation on a shoulder injury seemingly sooner rather than later after pulling out of Wales' squad on Sunday.
"I've just got to keep working hard," he told the Liverpool Echo. "Before Saturday the team had been playing brilliantly so I can't complain.
"You can't really change a winning team so I've understood why I've not played.
"I just have to make sure that when the manager needs me I'm ready to take my chance."