Liverpools Mignolet aims to block out top four talk

30 November 2013 01:31

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet insists his side can make a successful bid to qualify for the Champions League as long as they don't get carried away by their surprise challenge.

Brendan Rodgers's side have capitalised on inconsistent starts from both Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Tottenham to move into second place in the Premier League table behind leaders Arsenal.

Liverpool have not finished in the top four since the 2008-09 season but a return of 24 points from their opening 12 matches has seen them touted for a return to european football's elite club competition.

However, Mignolet has urged his colleagues to simply focus on the immediate challenges in front of them -- starting with a trip to face Hull at the KC Stadium on Sunday -- rather than worrying about what is going on at other clubs.

"From now until February, there are a lot of games to be played, so for us it's about making sure everybody stays fit, everybody works hard and we pick up as many points as we can during that period," Mignolet said.

"We cannot look too far ahead, so we have to make sure we approach the game against Hull well.

"It's not important to look at the opposition at this moment in time, it's still too early and we have to look at ourselves and make sure we do the right things, then we don't have to worry about what other teams are doing.

"We're doing well in the league and it's important to try and stay up there and build on our start to the season. Hopefully we can do it with a win on Sunday against Hull."

Mignolet, 25, was signed by current Hull manager Steve Bruce when he was in charge of Sunderland.

And the Belgium international claimed Liverpool will face a battle against any side managed by Bruce.

"I know Steve from my time at Sunderland," Mignolet added. "I know he always tries to get the lads up for it, so I'm sure they will be and put us under pressure.

"I expect a physical game but we have to look at ourselves and make sure we do the things we do best. We have to make sure we're ready and put in a good performance."

Liverpool will be without Jose Enrique who is recovering from knee surgery so Jon Flanagan will continue to deputise at left-back.

Hull manager Bruce believes his defenders face their toughest test of the season so far against Liverpool's in-form strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

And Bruce will be forced to make at least one change in the centre-back area, with Paul McShane ruled out by a hamstring injury.

It means Curtis Davies will be partnered by either Abdoulaye Faye or Alex Bruce as the Tigers look to thwart a Liverpool strike pairing with 20 goals to their name this season.

"The front two are exceptionally good. They're a very good side and the two strikers are as good as you will face," Bruce said.

"Suarez in particular has proved year in, year out that he's as good a player as there is in the Premier League.

"We'll have to defend well to get anything from it. They've always had top midfield players, Steven Gerrard particularly, but the front two have given them that cutting edge.

"They're starting to move in the right direction, which is great for Liverpool because for too long they haven't been competing at the top end.

"Whether they can sustain it is a question everyone will ask but if you look at the way they play, especially with the front players, they've got as good a chance as anybody of winning the title."

Source: AFP