Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says he does not think the Reds can win the Barclays Premier League title this season.
The Anfield team are enjoying a fine campaign and are currently fourth in the table, eight points behind leaders Arsenal, following Sunday's 1-1 draw at West Brom. But Rodgers, who took charge in the summer of 2012, is not convinced his side are ready for a genuine title tilt just yet.
"I think for us, as a team, it's too early for that," Rodgers told Sky Sports. "I was at the Manchester City-Chelsea game the other night and I look at the squads they have, which they have built up over the last few years. and it's very difficult for us, even though we have competed right the way through the season. So, I wouldn't say for us this year, no. We wouldn't be challengers for it."
However, Liverpool still have games left against Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea, and Rodgers is looking forward to watching his side have a say in the title race.
"Will we play a part in it? Yes, we will, because we are professional and we want to fight to finish as high as we possibly can," he said. "We look it and there are six points between us and (second-placed) Chelsea, so there is still a lot to play for and we will be fighting right until the very end. But, if I'm asked to give an honest answer, I'd probably say that this year is too soon for us."
Rodgers was speaking to us from an event at Anfield Sports and Community Centre. He and his backroom staff hosted a day of football activities for two local primary schools. The Liverpool boss also defended Kolo Toure after his costly error allowed West Brom to equalize in the 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns.
Daniel Sturridge had opened the scoring in the first half, converting Luis Suarez's cross from close range, but a careless ball across goal from Toure allowed Victor Anichebe to level and earn a point for the Baggies. The error cost Liverpool the chance to record their fourth win from their last five Premier League outings, but Rodgers refused to lay the blame at the door of the defender.
"Defensively, we were very, very good," he told Sky Sports. "I'll never criticize players for trying to play football but Kolo probably shouldn't have received the ball under pressure and his pass was misplaced. But for me, it's the bravest place on the field as we look to build our play from behind. That has won us many games this season."
Rodgers added: "We like to build the game and construct play from behind and sometimes it will cost you and today was unfortunately one of those days. Kolo Toure has been brilliant since he's been here. He's been a real leader, an outstanding professional and, unfortunately, it was a mistake."
Victory would have seen Liverpool close the gap to just one point on fellow title hopefuls Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea