Carragher calls for spirit of 2005 to salvage Liverpool's Euro campaign

Last updated at 15:44 25 October 2007

Defiant Jamie Carragher has called on Liverpool to rediscover the spirit of 2005 to haul themselves out of a deep Champions League hole.

The tough defender has been part of a Liverpool side who have lost key group

matches to Marseille and now Besiktas, with just the fortunate point gained in

Porto to their name this term.


For the five-time European Cup winners, who pride themselves on their foreign

achievements, Liverpool are rushing head-long towards the sort of disaster that

defines and wrecks careers.

After the horror of Istanbul that leaves them bottom of Champions League Group

A and facing 'relegation' to the UEFA Cup - or even being dumped out of Europe

completely - the beaten finalists of six months ago are facing humiliation.

The 2-1 defeat by Besiktas, in the city that staged Liverpool's greatest

triumph in modern times two years ago when they claimed a fifth European Cup,

has left boss Rafael Benitez and his squad stunned.

They are facing an exit from Europe's elite competition just as Arsenal,

Manchester United and Chelsea are all confidently marching on towards the

knockout stages and the last 16.

Liverpool had 28 attempts on goal against Besiktas last night, but only after

Steven Gerrard's late header did they look capable of a salvage operation.

Now Carragher says: "I do not accept that there was much wrong with our

performance in Istanbul, we were just unlucky in their penalty box.

"We feel we did not get what we deserved. But look back to 2005 and the group

stages. We did not do particularly well then, but ended up winning it.

"Now we must show that sort of spirit. We went to the last group game then and

got ourselves out of it. So it looks like we are going to have to do the same


Back in 2005, Liverpool managed to lose two group games against Monaco and

Olympiakos and claim a scrappy drawn with Deportivo la Coruna.

All seemed lost ahead of the final home game with Olympiacos, but a dramatic

fight-back with goals from Florent Sinama-Pongolle, Neil Mellor and Gerrard

produced an historic comeback.

They ended up winning the trophy that season, and now Carragher accepts that it

will take that level of heroics to see Liverpool through this crisis.

He said: "We are not thinking about the UEFA Cup, we are still going for it in

the Champions League. Win three games and we are through.

"You want to stay in the Champions League because it is a bigger trophy, but

we have got great memories of the UEFA Cup and if we end up there we will try to

win that instead.

"We cannot be too disappointed, we played the right way and dominated in


Liverpool now have the return with Besiktas in a fortnight, followed by Porto

at Anfield and the potential for last-night heroics in Marseille in their last

group game in December.

Carragher said: "We did it once before and we can do it again. It could well

go right to the wire of that last game in Marseille.

"I am not down one bit, we must go into the Arsenal game in the league on

Sunday with confidence because the only thing wrong in Istanbul was our


There has been plenty of criticism of Liverpool's display in Turkey, with

claims they lacked direction, team spirit and drive.

But Carragher said: "It was a disappointing result, I felt the lads showed

great commitment and we are proud of the way we played. We have three games left

and we have to go for it.

"We deserved more, we had so many shots on goal. Conceding that first goal

just made things more difficult.

"We kept going, but to have 28 attempts away from home in the Champions League

showed how well we played.

"But it is another bad result in Europe, we can't hide from that. What it does

is put more pressure on us for the final three games.

"We have nothing to lose now, we just have to go for it."

He added: "We must only look to beating Besiktas next, then go from there. It

might take three more wins and probably will, but we have a team here capable of

going anywhere in Europe and winning.

"We must make sure we are still in with a chance when we go to Marseille in

the last match."

Boss Benitez, who might soon have to answer some tough questions from the

club's American owners, said: "We had three chances before they scored. We kept

attacking even after they scored. Our possession and shots were very high, and

we created so much.

"It was our poor accuracy and their good keeper. It was as simple as that. The

atmosphere was outstanding, but we should have had the quality to overcome that.

Now we have two games at Anfield where our support will be just as powerful.

"We must stay calm, not get too worried about losing one or two matches. But

in Europe you cannot make mistakes, and we needed to score the first goal."

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