Carragher: We need divine intervention to save season

Vice-captain admits to crisis of confidence at Liverpool

Jamie Carragher conceded yesterday that he can now only pray that Liverpool will salvage something from a season in which their confidence has dipped to a level where their players are struggling to believe they can recover from going a goal behind.

Defeat on Sunday to an Arsène Wenger side which Liverpool dominated for 45 minutes has left both Carragher and his manager, Rafael Benitez, concluding, with Liverpool seventh and five points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa, that the side's problems are psychological. The Liverpool vice-captain now believes some divine intervention is necessary. "It's going to be a grind at times between now and May," Carragher said. "But we have got to stick together, get through it and, as I'm doing, pray to God that at the end of the season there will be something worthwhile for what we've gone through."

Despite Liverpool's three wins in 15 matches, the Premier League table could have a different complexion five days from now after two of the type of games that Liverpool must win, the first of them at home to Wigan tomorrow night, followed by Saturday's trip to Portsmouth. But their failure to recover after going behind – there were 32 minutes to rectify things against Arsenal – is a result of the panic that can now set in, Carragher said.

"We're only human and when things aren't going well the confidence does go a little bit," he explained. "You can see that at times. We played really well in the first half [against Arsenal] and then the goal goes in at the start of the second and that's when the confidence seems to go a little bit. That's when you need character. The only way the confidence comes back is by winning games. You grind out a few results and, hopefully, with each game you get more confident. But when you're on the run we are, the confidence goes, and that's only natural."

With Wolves at Anfield on Boxing Day, Liverpool have the chance to build before the visit to Aston Villa three days later. Carragher spelt out what he he felt could be demanded from his team-mates for the days ahead. "Not standing there looking around at each other," was one of the prerogatives he laid down. But he acknowledged the pressure Liverpool are under, with an awareness that failure to hit the top four in May would leave the club a minimum of £10m worse off by failing to qualify for next season's Champions League. "It's not a criticism of anyone, but any club that goes through a run like this is obviously going to be missing a bit of confidence," Carragher reflected.

Liverpool can, as Carragher acknowledged, take comfort at least from their first-half showing against Arsenal, in which they led through Dirk Kuyt's 40th-minute goal, albeit against a weakened side. "As much as we didn't do enough with the ball, you can't say Arsenal tore us apart or had a lot of chances," Carragher said. "I can't remember one chance – even the goals weren't great chances. I've been torn apart by Arsenal and that wasn't the case here.

"There's always light at the end of the tunnel. The great thing about football is that there's always another game to put it right and that other game is Wednesday. We have to start again. If we win on Wednesday, everyone's delighted and we take that into Saturday. You know how the season's gone, and the only way we can judge it is at the end and see where we are. We could pick up a couple of cups and everyone would be delighted. We have got to take every game as it comes."

Carragher acknowledged that Sunday's team – with Fernando Torres starting for the first time since 4 November and operating with Steven Gerrard – was as strong as Liverpool can field. "We can't look for excuses. That's the way it is in top-level football. We know that any little thing can get pounced on and that's happening at the moment. Wigan is a massive game for us. I've tried too many times down the years to work things out, so there's no point looking further ahead than that."

The contrast with Arsenal's Theo Walcott could hardly have been greater, the winger describing yesterday – ahead of tomorrow night's trip to Burnley – how Wenger applauded his side back into the dressing room, 45 minutes after his half-time dressing-down had inspired them to a second-half recovery.

"We like to keep things in the dressing room to ourselves but the boss just showed his passion for the game and that he has belief in us," Walcott said. "Coming in at the end of the game and getting a round of applause from the boss showed that we listened to him. All the players were bubbling and it was great to see."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
A referee issues a red card
football
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'