Brendan Rodgers admits the prospect of Liverpool challenging Manchester United for a top-four spot is no longer a reality after their 1-0 defeat to Hull City.
The Reds arrived at the KC Stadium on 28 April knowing six points from their next two games would bring them to within a single point of their arch rivals.
But it was Hull who took the plaudits with an inspired 1-0 victory thanks to Michael Dawson's 37th minute goal, a win that strengthens their bid to survive relegation from the Premier League. The result ensured Liverpool remain seven points behind United with just four games remaining.
When asked if the club can still fight their way into fourth and snatch qualification for next season's Champions League, Rodgers told the BBC: "I think that's not the reality of it. Our fight is to perform better through to the end of the season.
"It was always going to be difficult for us. The opportunity was though this year in terms of where we were at as a team."
Liverpool can reduce the gap between themselves and United to four points if they can beat Queens Park Rangers at Anfield on 2 May.
But Louis van Gaal's United side can extend it again later that evening when they welcome West Bromwich Albion to Old Trafford.
Reds midfielder Jordan Henderson tried to look for the positives to take from the Hull defeat but admitted their lack of a cutting edge again cost them.
"We were creating chances, we had a lot of the ball and a lot of possession," Henderson said. "Getting to the final third, we got into some really good areas and didn't finish, so we need to be much more clinical in that area.
"If we do that, then we'll be killing teams off, really. We've just got to keep going and hopefully the ball will go in the back of the net soon."