Daniel Sturridge is optimistic about Liverpool's prospects of finishing higher than fourth place this season – but stressed the importance of only considering that possibility if they achieve their initial objective of securing Champions League football.

Coupled with results elsewhere over the weekend, the Reds' 1-0 win at Swansea City on Monday night took them to within just four points of Manchester City in second.

After the game at the Liberty Stadium, Brendan Rodgers admitted his team's outstanding form has presented them with an 'opportunity to finish second' and asserted they'd be aiming to clinch as high a final position as possible.

It's a sentiment shared by Sturridge, though it's one no-one within the Melwood dressing room will be giving much thought to for now as they aim to complete their start-of-season target of sealing a place in the top four.

The striker told Liverpoolfc.com: "It is important to secure fourth place and then from there look on.

"To finish in the top four is realistic for us, it's what we're aiming to do, and if we can get higher than that then perfect.

"But finishing in the top four is the objective and that's the most important thing for us. It's not about aiming for anything other than that now.

"If we can finish in the top four, then we can push on and challenge for the title again next season.

"I think top four is definitely possible for us."

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Liverpool's pursuit of a top-four finish looked a tough proposition as recently as December when they found themselves in the bottom half of the Barclays Premier League table.

However, aided by a switch in formation to 3-4-3, an unbeaten run of 13 matches has been achieved to catapult the Reds firmly back into the mix.

"There has been perseverance and a lot of hard work done by the players to get to where we are," added Sturridge.

"We're in a good moment, so we're just continuing to work hard each day out on the training field, putting in the work and hours.

"Then at the weekends, we're going into the games with a confident mentality and a positive attitude.

"The boys have fought back and we're where we are now, and that is testament to the hard work everyone has put in to get to where we are today.

"It [the formation] is working. Everyone is defending very well, Si [Mignolet] is doing extremely well also. It's great to see and long may it continue."

Liverpool conjured up an incredible 11-match winning run in the league at the business end of last season as they went in search of the title.

Asked if he felt there were any similarities in terms of the mood within the dressing room then and now, Sturridge replied: "I think so. In terms of how we go out there with a positive attitude, try to play our football, try to break down the opposition and create chances to score goals.

"Sometimes maybe we don't create as we did last season, but I feel that as long as we're winning games, that's all that matters."