Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Carragher: Reds building from the back

Jamie Carragher
Jamie Carragher

Liverpool centre-back Jamie Carragher feels the side are returning to their defensive best but knows they will have to maintain that over the coming weeks if they want to sustain their challenge for Champions League qualification.

A resolute rearguard action in the 213th Merseyside derby, for which they played more than 55 minutes with 10 men after Sotirios Krygiakos' dismissal, earned a 1-0 victory thanks to Dirk Kuyt's 50th goal for the club.

"For the last four or five years we have been good defensively under Rafa and we are just getting back to our normal selves," said Carragher. "If you keep clean sheets you are going to win games."

A seven-match unbeaten Barclays Premier League run has now brought 17 points and six clean sheets, lifting the Reds into the top four for the first time since early October.

But they face a tough test on Wednesday when they travel to Arsenal, where they have not won in the league in three days short of a decade.

Manager Rafael Benitez will allow his players a couple of days to enjoy the derby victory, their fifth in the last six, before concentrating on the Gunners.

Bootle-born Carragher, who played in his 25th meeting between the near-neighbours yesterday, knows how important the victory was for morale.

"It is not just three points, it has a massive impact and everyone is buzzing," said the 32-year-old. "But that can change if the result doesn't go our way at Arsenal.

"We beat Manchester United (in the league) and then played Arsenal in the Carling Cup and lost.

"It is important we keep that feelgood factor after the Arsenal game and that will be by making sure we get a good result."

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