Steven Gerrard has confessed that his chances of winning a Premier League title before retirement have virtually receded to nil over recent seasons.
Liverpool last mounted a serious bid to finish in pole position in 2009 and the final delivery of 18 championships came over two decades ago.
The Anfield skipper acknowledges the Reds are going through another period of transition and competing not only against teams with higher resources, but clubs with a recent history of collecting honours - plus those who are justifiably hoping to move into that bracket.
Despite branding the prospect of winning the title a "miracle" Gerrard insists that he retains that small hope of leading the side to a debut Premier League crown; but is more confident about reclaiming a place within the Champions League fold.
"There's not just United and Arsenal now but City, Chelsea and Tottenham. Newcastle coming as well. The Premier League has become a lot more difficult to win for everyone," he told The Sunday Times.
"We were eighth last year. If this season goes well, we get a bit of luck, improve, we have an outside, no, a 50-50 chance of being in the top four. That's being realistic. It's achievable.
"But even if we do sneak into the top four I'll be 33 at the end of the season, so that's why it'll be a miracle if we win the title before I finish.
"But I'll keep fighting. I'll keep trying and see what happens."
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