Carragher backs Liverpool to finish fourth

Liverpool vice-captain Jamie Carragher insists the players still believe they can finish fourth in the Barclays Premier League.

Yesterday's 2-1 loss against Manchester United at Old Trafford left Rafael Benitez's side four points adrift of the final Champions League qualification spot, currently occupied by Tottenham.

Liverpool have played more matches than Tottenham, Manchester City and Aston Villa but do have a slightly easier-looking run-in on paper.

Carragher said the players had to forget the United defeat and focus on trying to win all their seven matches.

"We have just got to recover from this as quickly as possible and get on a run of victories," said the 32-year-old.

"Of course we believe we can still close the gap. They (Liverpool's rivals) will have difficult spells and we have got to make sure we take maximum points when they do.

"Maybe there will be more criticism of us now and at a club like Liverpool, the pressure is never off.

"Things are a bit more difficult but we have still got lots of points to play for."

Carragher felt their third match in a week, after victories over Portsmouth last Monday and Lille on Thursday, took its toll at Old Trafford.

"We did well to a certain point but we played last Monday, then again on Thursday and then had to come into this match," Carragher told the Liverpool Echo.

"The squad hasn't been strong enough for one reason or another this season but it was still a big ask to go there after that run, particularly as United had all week to prepare.

"But we have lost and you have got to move on, as this was the most difficult fixture we had before the season end."

Should Liverpool fail to qualify for the Champions League there will be speculation about the futures of the likes of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard.

The Liverpool captain, for one, has failed to find his best form this season and his body language at times has suggested all is not well with him.

Against United he was a peripheral figure for long periods and in the latter stages, as Benitez threw on Alberto Aquilani and Yossi Benayoun in an attempt to salvage a point, he was moved around the pitch.

That, according to former team-mate and close friend Jamie Redknapp, will not have impressed the England international.

"Don't get me wrong, Steven Gerrard was not at his best again yesterday, but he's hardly being given the platform by his manager Rafa Benitez," Redknapp wrote in the Daily Mail.

"I'm not sure if Stevie played in three, or was it four different positions against United.

"That's no way to treat your best players. Give him a platform, trust him with the role and watch him play.

"It's not as if he hasn't proved that before."