Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher has conceded his side have no chance of finishing inside the top-four, but urged them to secure Europa League qualification.
A splendid run of form since the turn of the year rekindled Liverpool’s Champions League hopes. However, a shock 3-1 defeat to Southampton about a fortnight ago put them nine points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, virtually extinguishing their Champions League aspirations.
Now the Reds are also running the risk of missing out on a Europa League berth, as Swansea City’s Capital One Cup triumph means they will have to finish fifth in the table in order to make it into the less glamorous European club competition.
If Liverpool fail to achieve that, it will only be the second time since 1999 that the Merseyside club will be without European football in a season.
Carragher, who is set to retire by the end of the term, admitted that the loss to Southampton had obliterated their top-four chances.
Nonetheless, he urged his side to go full throttle to achieve Europa League qualification, as Liverpool’s glorious past demanded them to be at least playing in Europe.
He told the Liverpool Daily Post: “Before the Southampton game, there was that thing in the back of your mind ‘fourth, you never know, we’ll see how we go’. But I think that defeat has put that to bed.
“Liverpool need European football; it’s synonymous with European football and we are a big name in European football. We always need to be in there.
“We just have to win games. I wouldn’t have any targets. I’m sick of that – saying we are going for fourth or this or that."
The Anfield outfit are set to visit Aston Villa this coming Sunday as they look to close the gap on their local rivals Everton. Liverpool currently sit seventh in the table and trail Everton and Arsenal by three and five points respectively.
And the veteran Englishman claimed they were now taking it one game at a time and were totally focused on the Villa game.
He finished by saying: “The Villa game will have been in the manager’s system for a few weeks. He’ll have been brooding. The Villa game is very important.
“We just have to take each game and see where we end up.
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