Carra looks to the heavens for help

Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League defeat at home to Arsenal leaves the

Reds even further away from Champions League qualification as they

are now five points adrift of Aston Villa in fourth. Failure to

make it through to the knockout stages of this year’s Champions

League means Liverpool have only the Europa League to look forward

to, while all eyes will be eagerly watching next month’s FA Cup tie

at Championship side Reading. Vice-captain Carragher acknowledges

it is a painful time for him personally and the team, but is still

optimistic they have time to turn things around. “It is tough at

the moment for everyone associated with the club but we’ve been

here before,” he said. “Part of playing for Liverpool is having big

character and that is what we need at the moment. “Between now and

the end of May it has got to be a grind at times but we have got to

stick together, get through it and, as I am doing every night, pray

to God that at the end of the season there will be something worth

what we have gone through at times, because it has been tough. “I

pray to God we win the FA Cup or the Europa League and we get in

the top four, dust ourselves down at the end of the season and say

‘It hasn’t been so bad in the end’, but at this moment it is tough.

“[With] the quality of players we have and the stature of the club,

we realise we should do better. “We can’t look for excuses. We have

to be big and strong and get on with it.” Liverpool should have had

the game against the Gunners sewn up long before Glen Johnson’s own

goal five minutes after half-time. Steven Gerrard should have had a

penalty when William Gallas brought him down only for referee

Howard Webb to be put off by his somewhat exaggerated descent to

the Anfield turf. Dirk Kuyt finally made the breakthrough just

before the interval when Almunia flapped at Fabio Aurelio’s

free-kick and the Holland international stabbed home from close

range. But as soon as Samir Nasri’s cross was diverted into his own

net by Johnson the tables turned and Andrey Arshavin, who scored

all four goals in the draw at Anfield in April, smashed home a

brilliant second off a post after Johnson’s mis-control. Liverpool

have now won just three times in their last 15 matches with only

one victory – significantly over Manchester United – at home since

September 26. Carragher accepts Wednesday’s home encounter against

an inconsistent Wigan side takes on even greater significance.

“Statistics like that are not good but you can spin it around

because, before the Fiorentina game (last Wednesday), you could

have said we had not lost in six,” he said. “Statistics can change

very quickly and we want to make sure we can start changing those

stats, starting on Wednesday. “The run we are on is a very

difficult one and it saps confidence, which is only natural because

we are only human and when things aren’t going great you can see

that at times. “When the [first] goal went in the confidence seemed

to go and that is when you need the character. The only way

confidence comes back is by winning games. “There is always light

at the end of the tunnel. The great thing about football is that no

matter how bad it gets, there is always another game to put it

right and that is on Wednesday.” Manager Rafael Benitez has come in

for heavy and sustained criticism this season but Kuyt said the

players had to shoulder some of the burden. “We want to change it

and we will change it,” said the Dutchman. “We know it is not the

manager, we know it is not one player. “We, all together, have to

take the blame ourselves and take it on from there and change it as

quickly as possible.”