Steve Clarke has rubbished claims by Liverpool’s owners, the Fenway Sports Group that finishing inside the top-four is not vital.
The former assistant manager, now West Bromwich Albion Head Coach, was sacked along with Kenny Dalglish at the end of last season after a disappointing eighth-place finish- a massive 37 points behind title winners Manchester City.
He said: “A club like Liverpool have to be there challenging for the top four – I don’t think they can accept anything less”, he told the Daily Mirror.
Despite performing poorly in the League, Clarke and Dalglish led the Reds to two cup finals, winning the Carling Cup- the club’s first trophy in six years.
He added: “If you are reaching cup finals, you know you have a team who can compete. It is not an easy achievement. Not many teams do it.
Clarke also revealed that his departure had nothing to do with the incoming Brendan Rodgers, but the owners, who wanted to completely revamp the coaching set-up.
It allowed him to land his first managerial position, having built-up a good reputation as a steady number- two at Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool respectively.
Tomorrow’s opening day match at the Hawthorns against Clarke’s former employers offers the chance for redemption, but he is focusing on the tough task to emulate Albion’s success of a tenth-place finish last season and to permanently remove the “boing boing Baggies” tag.
He said: “There were two or three jobs still available and I was fortunate to get this.
“It is a big game for me because it is the first game in charge at West Bromwich Albion.”