Brendan Rodgers has likened Liverpool's assault on their final half-a-dozen Barclays Premier League fixtures to scaling a mountain peak – with both tasks having to be navigated in stages.

The Northern Irishman would know plenty about it too; in 2011, a year before he took the reins as Reds manager, the boss successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for charity.

Back at ground level, Rodgers is currently preparing his side, who have claimed three points in each of their last eight league encounters, for the challenge of facing West Ham United on Sunday.

The clash at Upton Park dominates the 41-year-old's thinking entirely as he explained why everyone at the club must refrain from looking too far ahead in the battle at the summit of the Premier League.

"If you look too far ahead, it gets too daunting," Rodgers reflected. "That's why when you climb a mountain, you climb it in stages. You don't do it in one hit.

"We chunk our season into games; Sunday will be the last of a block of five games we look to in terms of points. Once that is done there are five games left and we will look at that block and what we need. It's done game by game, really.

"Six games is still a long way out. Some people think that with six games to go the finishing line is in sight, but it's still a way out. I can only think of the next match. And if we win that, we will go into the next one.

"West Ham are in good form, six wins out of nine, and are a difficult opponent because of the way they play. We have confidence - we won there last year and are at the top of our game at this moment."

An already flourishing level of morale within the squad was boosted further by the comprehensive dismantling of Tottenham Hotspur last weekend - the Londoners were downed 4-0 at Anfield.

That the players produced such a dynamic performance despite the perceived pressure of being able to hit top spot in the standings made the result all the more impressive in Rodgers' opinion.

He continued: "Our performance was the biggest signal last week. Coming into the game there was a lot of talk it would be a real test of where we're at.

"The composure, aggression and arrogance with which we played was brilliant. And I see it in training every day and that's what makes me calm.

"The players are doing their best and we are rinsing absolutely everything out of them - mentally, physically, technically, tactically - and hopefully that continues. We still stay calm and enjoy it."


Closest rivals Chelsea and Manchester City were both victorious on Saturday, which allowed the former to reclaim first place from Liverpool before the action gets underway against the Hammers.

While encouraging the Reds' supporters to take the opportunity to dream this season, Rodgers has repeatedly pointed to the necessity for calm within club ranks - a mantra he maintains for the run-in.

"We are looking to sustain something here, and our main objective is still to arrive in the top four," the manager added.

"That would be an incredible achievement for this squad and where they are at. It would be a great mark of the unity at the football club.

"At the beginning of the season, people said it would be difficult to get in the top four for Liverpool. So we respect that challenge and have worked tirelessly to make ourselves competitive this year."