Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers talks up Premier League credentials

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insists his team can still challenge for the Premier League title, despite dropping to fifth after successive losses.

His side, which topped the table on Christmas Day, are now six points behind leaders Arsenal after defeats by Chelsea and Manchester City.

But Rodgers remains optimistic, telling BBC Sport: "There's no reason why we can't be challenging.

"The most important thing for us is that we're in the conversation."

Liverpool's 2-1 defeat by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge came just three days after their Boxing Day loss against City at the Etihad.

Liverpool booted out of top four

  • Liverpool have not started a new year in the Premier League top four since the 2008-09 season
  • Six of Chelsea's last eight Premier League wins against Liverpool have come under Jose Mourinho

The defeat against Chelsea, who are now four points ahead of the Merseysiders in third, also proved costly for Rodgers in terms of personnel.

Defender Mamadou Sakho suffered a hamstring problem, Joe Allen was injured in the 60th minute and replaced by 19-year-old Brad Smith, while Jordan Henderson also sustained a knock.

Rodgers admitted his squad was "very thin" but hoped that reinforcements during the January transfer window, combined with the return of captain Steven Gerrard and striker Daniel Sturridge from injury, would enable the club to maintain their push for the title.

"It's been a brilliant effort by the squad," added the Northern Irishman. "We couldn't have had two tougher games against two greater squads.

"As you can see from ours, it's very thin at the moment.

"At the start of our season this squad was very thin anyway and we needed that bit of luck with nobody getting injured. Up to three weeks ago, that worked well for us.

"But these players have been brilliant and they've shown when we've got everyone available we'll be a match for anyone."

With the exception of Manchester United, Liverpool will host all the teams currently occupying the top eight places in the Premier League at Anfield during the second half of the season.

And Rodgers drew comfort from such a schedule, adding: "By January, hopefully everyone will be back fit and we'll have some reinforcements and then we can go into the second half of the season in a really good moment.

"If we get that we bit of luck and stay clear of injury, and we'll improve in the second half of the season, then we're going to be in with a shout of challenging."