Jamie Carragher has revealed his personal belief that Liverpool never “out-played” a top European club during his stay at Anfield – despite lifting the Champions League in 2005 – in his latest column for the Daily Mail.
The main thrust of the piece focuses on Manchester City’s latest shortcomings in Europe’s premier club competition, but it also leads the former Liverpool defender to reflect on the way in which the
sides he was a part of went about competing against foreign teams.
He believes that a tight defensive performance away from home, followed by frenetic starts to raise the crowd at Anfield were key to progressing through to the latter stages of European competitions, rather than playing the best teams at their own game.
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In his latest column, Carragher wrote: “I remember what it was like when Liverpool were in Europe. I won the UEFA Cup and Champions League and played in another final but I don’t ever remember us taking on a top team and out-footballing them.
“Whether it was Gerard Houllier or Rafa Benitez – two foreign managers who were in charge of teams made up largely of foreign players – the message would be the same: European opponents hated playing against fast, aggressive, physical football.
“We would go away from home and play by our opponents’ rules: we would allow them to set the pace but we would defend as one and look to frustrate the crowd.”
A contrasting approach was adopted for home fixtures when the hosts would look to feed off of the energy created on a typically magical European night at Anfield.
Carragher added: “From the first whistle, we were like caged tigers. I always wanted to make my first tackle count, to shake whoever I was marking and lift the crowd.
“For the first 20 minutes, our goalkeepers would kick the ball long so we could hem in whoever we were playing and make it as uncomfortable as possible. The pressure would build that way.
“You would make every second ball a fight, if there was a set-piece, it would be delivered straight into the penalty area. The tempo would whip up the crowd, they would become our extra man and they would feed off the energy.”
And the Sky Sports pundit feels as though it is a typical trait of British teams competing in Europe, accusing Chelsea and Manchester United of adopting similar approaches to experience success in
the Champions League.
He feels as though Manchester City are missing a trick here and that they must change their style of play on the biggest stage in club football if they are to finally progress past the last 16 of the competition.
Liverpool fans: Do you AGREE with Jamie Carragher? Have your say in the comments section below!