"You look at the points tally," he stated to Sky Sports News. "We finished the season with 86 points. Usually that's enough to be crowned champions.
"But Manchester United have played at a terrific standard this year and unfortunately we've finished runners-up. But we're very close.
"I'm sure the manager will want to strengthen the team and the squad over the summer.
"I don't think there's many changes that need making, but we need to freshen things up like all the other teams do, and I feel as if we can fight for all the big trophies next year."
The England international refused to be drawn on which areas that the Reds need to improve, preferring to trust his manager's judgement, although he didn't think that too much change was required.
"I think that's for Rafa to answer," he affirmed. "I'm sure he's already working on what part of the squad needs strengthening. I think if you look at Manchester United's squad and Chelsea's squad and you look at how strong their benches are, and even how strong the players are that aren't even making their eighteens, then we're off that at moment.
"We're maybe two or three players away from having a squad on a level par with them two. I feel that's how close we are."