Johnson buoyed by Liverpool position
They are now only three points off fifth place and six behind Manchester City, who occupy the final UEFA Champions League qualification position. There is still plenty of ground to be covered before the squad can think about moving back into the top four but Saturday's comfortable 3-0 win over bottom side West Ham has boosted confidence.
"We are still quite close to the top and if we can build on this performance then I'm sure we can be close to where we want to be," said Johnson. "It surprises me that this win has taken us to within sight of fourth place.
"Considering some of the points we have dropped, you'd have thought we would be out of it already, to be honest, but we're in there. Everyone's beating everyone at the moment and the league's really open. That means if we can put a run together we can get up there where we aim to be."
Just over a week ago a four-match unbeaten league run - which had lifted the club out of the unfamiliar surroundings of the relegation zone - was ended in dismal fashion at Stoke. Johnson is hoping the club can now put together another strong sequence of results.
"The West Ham win was an important result because we can start again looking for another unbeaten run like that last one," said the England international, who marked his return from a three-match injury-enforced absence with the opening goal on Saturday.
"We are looking to go on another run, to build on this victory again, and we showed good form out there, especially in the first half. We believe that if we can put another run together we can be back up there challenging for the top four places.
"Every team has been dropping points where you wouldn't expect them to. That shows how competitive the league is, but it has given us a chance to still challenge, despite some of our results."
Midfielder Joe Cole is set for a comeback in the weekend's Premier League fixture at Tottenham after missing the last five matches with a hamstring injury.
"Joe should be back for Sunday," said manager
"Joe is not that far away really, so hopefully he will have recovered in time for Tottenham. Hamstring injuries are tricky and I'm afraid we can only rely on what the sports science people tell us, and if they say he needs more time we just have to wait."
Spanish youngster Suso has signed his first professional contract - an initial three-year deal - after turning 17 on Friday.
The teenager, who moved to