Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has told Sky Sports it is essential that Liverpool finish in the top four.

Currently top of the league Liverpool go into an important six point match with Manchester City at the Etihad on Boxing Day knowing that a loss and wins for the surrounding teams could see the Reds slip to 5th in the table.

On a broadcast aired on Christmas day Gerrard has said the aim of the club has always been to return to Champions League football.

He said: “I think if we were to finish outside the top four I think it would be a disappointing season.

“With the talent we’ve got in the squad and the way we’ve started, we’ve set ourselves up with a magnificent chance of finishing in the top four so if we were to let that slip and finish outside everyone would be disappointed.

“The key to us is to finish inside the top four, it helps the club financially to bring players in and to end that long spell without it.

“I think we’re title contenders if we’re in the title race with 10 games to go – I don’t get carried away or change targets or raise expectations around the city just because we’ve started the season very strong.

“To be in the title race you’ve got to be there with 10 games to go with a realistic challenge of winning it. I do have confidence and belief in my team-mates that we’re capable of surprising a few people this season.”

Gerrard is under contract with Liverpool until 2015 and cannot see himself playing anywhere else since joining the club as a nine-year-old.

He said: “If something happens where I fall out of contention or someone else comes along and takes my place and I stop enjoying it, if I still feel I could offer someone else something of course I’d consider it, but for the time being I can see myself seeing it out here.”