Johnson buoyed by Reds’ placing

Having endured their worst start to a campaign since 1953/54 with
six points from the opening eight matches the Reds have now accrued
13 from their last six – a record bettered only by Manchester
United over the same half-a-dozen games. They are now only three
points off fifth place and six behind Manchester City, who occupy
the final Champions League qualification position. There is still
plenty of ground to be covered before the squad can think about
moving back into the top four but Saturday’s comfortable 3-0 win
over bottom side West Ham has boosted confidence. “We are still
quite close to the top and if we can build on this performance then
I’m sure we can be close to where we want to be,” said Johnson. “It
surprises me that this win has taken us to within sight of fourth
place. “Considering some of the points we have dropped, you’d have
thought we would be out of it already, to be honest, but we’re in
there. “Everyone’s beating everyone at the moment and the league’s
really open. “That means if we can put a run together we can get up
there where we aim to be.” Just over a week ago a four-match
unbeaten league run – which had lifted the club out of the
unfamiliar surroundings of the relegation zone – was ended in
dismal fashion at Stoke. Johnson is hoping the club can now put
together another strong sequence of results. “The West Ham win was
an important result because we can start again looking for another
unbeaten run like that last one,” said the England international,
who marked his return from a three-match injury-enforced absence
with the opening goal on Saturday. “We are looking to go on another
run, to build on this victory again, and we showed good form out
there, especially in the first half. “We believe that if we can put
another run together we can be back up there challenging for the
top four places. “Every team has been dropping points where you
wouldn’t expect them to. “That shows how competitive the league is,
but it has given us a chance to still challenge, despite some of
our results.”