Liverpool's Bellamy Aiming Higher

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Liverpool's success in the Carling Cup on Sunday could be just the tonic Kenny Dalglish's side need to move on to bigger and better things.

Before the match, Craig Bellamy admitted that the Reds had higher priorities this season, specifically citing qualifying for the Champions League by finishing fourth in the top flight.

This weekend’s results have not been too kind in achieving that end. Arsenal’s 5-2 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates allowed them to increase the gap between themselves in fourth and seventh-placed Liverpool to seven points.

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s routine success against Bolton on Saturday saw them increase their advantage to seven points too. Punters betting on sports still consider the Reds as outsiders to snatch fourth.

Newcastle United’s 2-2 draw against relegation threatened Wolves was a boost for the Reds’ Champions League hopes as they will move to within one point of the Magpies should they win their game in hand.

Liverpool also have a game in hand over Arsenal and Chelsea and if this is won, it will be as you were in the league standings, with Liverpool four points off the coveted fourth place.

The Carling Cup success may have been hard-fought and nerve-wracking, particularly as it was secured after 120 gruelling minutes plus penalties, but winning their first trophy since 2006 is guaranteed to boost the mood around Anfield. Furthermore, the symbolic nature of Dalglish winning his first trophy in his second spell as manager must not be understated.

With no midweek fixture for the Reds, they can focus on their massive home clash with Arsenal next Saturday. This is effectively a six-pointer for Liverpool as, if they win it, they will move to within striking distance of fourth place and the latest odds suggest that is likely.

With Chelsea still to visit Anfield too, the Reds are in prime position to secure that final Champions League spot. With winnable games in between – and none against the Premier League’s top three – the Reds could take the confidence gained from their Wembley triumph and finish the season strongly.

Much will depend on next weekend’s game against Arsenal – if Liverpool win this, they could be sitting at Europe’s top table next year.

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