Jamie Carragher has delivered a positive appraisal of Liverpool's opening 10 games of the Barclays Premier League campaign, and believes they’re well placed to mount a strong challenge for a top-four finish.

Following Saturday's 2-0 defeat at league leaders Arsenal, the Reds currently sit third in the table, level on points with Tottenham and Chelsea.

Despite that loss at the Emirates, Carragher feels that Brendan Rodgers' men can be hugely satisfied with the opening they've made to 2013-14 and is optimistic about their chances of achieving a return to Champions League football come May.

The Anfield legend told Liverpoolfc.com: "They've had a great start. I think the management and the players will all be delighted with the way they've started. 

"It was a disappointing result at Arsenal, but they've got Fulham next and you'd expect them to win that game. Arsenal have got to go to United, so someone is going to lose points, so you'd expect Liverpool to be even closer to the top after the weekend."

Drawing on his own vast experience from his playing days, which came to a close after 737 games in the red jersey at the end of last season, Carragher underlined the impact a strong start to a campaign can ultimately have on where a team crosses the finish line.

He added: "If you have a positive start, it gives everyone a lift - even the supporters going to games.

"At times there will be difficulties through a season, but when you come to the end of that season, I think normally wherever you are after 10 games, you'll [finish] roughly around that position. Liverpool are in the top four at the moment and that's where they need to be."

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This season's fledgling Premier League has already thrown up a number of upsets, with no team being able to lay claim to an unbeaten record.

Carragher feels the uncertain nature of the campaign should give Liverpool even more self-assurance as they set about challenging the sides at the top of the table.

"It should give them more confidence - and it should also mean they don't get too despondent when they lose a game away to Arsenal, who are the best team in the league at the moment," he considered.

"Manchester City have lost some games - Cardiff and Aston Villa away. Then you look at Manchester United, who lost to West Brom at home, and Liverpool had the loss to Southampton.

"To lose to Arsenal away is no disgrace - it's disappointing but we should not get too despondent. You move on, they've got Fulham at home [next] and you'd expect them to win that game - and if they do, they'll go into the international break in a great position."

Since hanging up his boots at the end of last season, Carragher has swapped the dressing room for the TV studio with the 35-year-old working as a pundit for Sky Sports.

The former No.23 is, therefore, well placed to discuss how Liverpool's approach to games has differed since he left the club.

Carragher said: "They've changed their shape in the last few weeks, which is a major change, really. I don't think any other side in the division are playing three at the back, but I'd imagine that'd change again in time because I think the manager's preferred system would be 4-3-3.

"If you take away the Arsenal game, the change of system has been a very big success. It allows you to get your two best players up top and in this day and age, you're lucky to do that if you don't play three at the back or maybe a diamond formation in the middle. Liverpool have been a good talking point for us!"

Liverpool's trip to the Emirates on Saturday was the type of clash Carragher would have relished during his playing days.

So is he missing the hustle and bustle of lining up for the Reds?

"Sometimes it feels as though it hasn't really sunk in yet," he said. "I'll be honest, it's not something I've missed too much as of yet - but I'm sure that will come. I suppose that's because I've been so busy doing TV and media stuff, thinking about the game and going to games...I've always got my mind occupied, really.

"It's been difficult to let my mind wander, look at the team and think about what I could be bringing to the side. But when you see them going out at places at the Emirates, that's what you miss - going to big games like that. That's something I'll always remember."

It's been just under six months since Carragher took part in a competitive game as he said farewell to Anfield against Queens Park Rangers on the final day of last season.

His illustrious Liverpool career yielded a Champions League winners' medal, as well as a UEFA Cup, two FA Cups, three League Cups and a UEFA Super Cup.

Asked if he'd had an opportunity to reflect on exactly just how much he'd achieved over the last 17 years, Carragher replied: "I'd say yes and no. At the end of the season, you go on holiday and have a lot of time to think. But as soon as I came back, my mind was focused on something else; doing games for Sky, writing stuff for the newspapers and different things.

"Your mind is always working, so I haven't had too much of a chance since the start of the season to look back, really. That's the best way, you don't really want to be spending too long looking back. You've got to look forward, move on with your life and get into something else."

His playing days may be over, but Carragher scooped more silverware on Monday night when he collected the Player of the Year gong at the North West Football Awards.

It was an award voted for by fans and in winning it, the Scouser saw off competition from Everton's Leighton Baines, Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick and Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City.

"It's not an award I've won before, so to win it at the end of my career is a nice way to go out," reflected Carragher. "I think I probably won it for the second half the season - the first half was quite difficult for me personally - but to get the chance to come back into the team, stay in the team and now be recognised by this is great honour for me.

"I'm sure a lot of Liverpool fans would have voted - maybe not many Manchester United fans, City fans or whoever! Fans vote for these things and you never know how it's going to go.

"There was a lot of stiff competition there - Baines at Everton, what a few seasons he's had, Carrick at Manchester United won another title and played very well, and Zabaleta at City is someone everybody in the game respects for his performances and attitude. To have come out on top is a great honour and a privilege."