The Carling Cup winners slipped 10 points behind fourth-placed Arsenal after a 2-1 loss in the sides' meeting on Saturday.

Johnson said his side would need a 'lot of luck' if they are to overhaul the Gunners and Chelsea in to fourth.

"Saturday was obviously a big blow. We need a lot of luck but until it's mathematically impossible we will keep trying," Johnson said.

"The idea was to finish in the top four, no doubt about it, so I think the season would still be a failure if we miss out on the Champions League, that was the main objective.

"But I think everyone is pleased we've got a trophy. Hopefully we'll pick up another one and you never know about the top four."

The season is far from a failure with Liverpool still able to complete the cup double with a semi-final FA Cup tie with Stoke to look forward to on March 19.

Johnson said it was another example of the progress made under Kenny Dalglish and agrees with captain Steven Gerrard's assessment that the current team is better than the last Reds' side to compete in the Champions League.

"Definitely," he said. "I heard Stevie (Gerrard) say the other day that the team we have now is better than the team when they were in the top four.

"You have a top six now fighting for four places, so it shows how strong the Premier League is.

"I think we've hit the woodwork 21 times this season. If you take more goals out of that we could have a hell of a lot more points.

"But that's the difference between the best teams. It's inches, so we've got to keeping working on the good things. At least we're creating the chances."