Carragher expects Liverpool to improve

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Liverpool veteran Jamie Carragher is relishing the opportunity to prove people wrong this season.

The Reds finished a disappointing seventh in the Barclays Premier League last term and are not involved in the Champions League for the first time in seven seasons.

With teams such as Manchester City and Tottenham improving, they have not been universally tipped to return to the top four but Carragher is ready for the challenge.

The 32-year-old defender said: "Ever since I have been in the team I don't think we've ever been thought of as the best team in the country.

"We have always had one or two question marks against us.

"There have been times in the last decade when we have quite enjoyed that situation and proved people wrong on quite a few occasions.

"I can totally understand people saying they don't fancy us to get in the top four but we have got to have the belief we can.

"I expect an improvement on last season and hopefully that will get us in there."

The mood at Anfield has been transformed since the appointment of Roy Hodgson as manager in the summer.

The arrival of new players Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic and pledges of allegiance by star pair Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres have also lifted spirits.

Liverpool were moments away from opening their league campaign with an impressive victory over Arsenal on Sunday when they conceded a last-gasp own goal equaliser.

Nevertheless, after playing the second half with 10 men following the sending-off of Cole, it was still a creditable result and Carragher feels the signs are good.

He added: "People always talk about last season, but don't forget the year before, with the same team, we finished second.

"We were never as bad as seventh. There were a lot of different factors involved and that's all in the past now.

"We were a lot better than that and hopefully with the impetus from the new arrival in the manager's hotseat and a couple of new players, we should be fighting for that top-four place.

"Hopefully over the season we can do better than that but I think the aim at the moment is to challenge and get in that top four."