Jamie Carragher says Livepool FC must face facts
Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher kissing the UEFA Champions League trophy _460 JAMIE CARRAGHER has been a Liverpool player long enough to remember the nights when the only dilemma the Champions League presented was what game he would watch on television. When he first broke into the Reds' starting line-up in 1997, the opportunity to brush shoulders with the best in the business, play in some of the world's most famous stadiums and compete regularly in Europe's premier competition was nothing but a pipedream. So as Rafa Benitez's squad touched down in Hungary yesterday with their place at the top table hanging in the balance, nobody was better positioned than Carragher to offer an assessment on the predicament in which Liverpool currently find themselves. With a club record 122 European appearances under his belt, there is little the Reds' number 23 has not experienced and some of his greatest nights for the club have come on foreign fields yet, significantly, he has also witnessed the other side of the coin. If Istanbul was his Champions League zenith, the nadir came during a night on the banks of the Rhine seven years ago when a 3-3 draw with Basle sent Liverpool tumbling out of a group they were expected to breeze through and into the UEFA Cup. Fast forward to the present day and the parallels are eerily familiar. Liverpool, as then, are struggling in the Premier League and have had endured horrendous injury problems but Carragher is not someone to blame bad fortune. He, simply, feels whatever will be, will be and if Fiorentina happen to get the result at home to Lyon to make whatever Benitez sees his team do here against Debrecen tonight, there will be no ranting or raving, just a measured point of view. 'I'm not a big believer in luck,' said Carragher. 'Though some people will say we wouldn't be in this position if one of our lads (Sotirios Kyrgiakos) hadn't slipped in the last minute in Lyon, over a long period of time you can't make excuses. 'That's football and things like that happen to everyone. We have to perform better and we haven't managed to do that so far in the Champions League this season but we still believe that we can get through. 'I remember the night we got knocked out in Basle. It was a massive disappointment for the club, we never won for 11 games in the league after that and ended up finishing fifth but we beat Manchester United in the Carling Cup final. 'Since that night, we've had a great run in the competition and it's experiences like this that show you cannot take your position for granted. People might have expected us to ease through the group but that won't happen if you don't perform.
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