JAMIE CARRAGHER last night issued a public apology to Liverpool fans for their FA Cup humiliation.

Defeat to Championship strugglers Reading on Wednesday night was the latest chapter in a season that has already seen them dumped out of the Champions League and fall way behind in the race for the Premier League title.

It all comes against a backdrop of boardroom turmoil that saw co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett fall out while the club is suffering financial hardship.

Now vice-captain and Anfield great Carragher has spoken out on behalf of the under-fire squad, saying: “We have to apologise for the way we performed.

“It was a very bad night for Liverpool and we can’t disguise that, we had to do more against a side from a lower league.

“We have to accept Reading deserved it. But, at the same time, we have got to look at ourselves and the way we performed was not acceptable.”

Liverpool looked like squeaking through 1-0 courtesy of Ryan Bertrand’s own goal until an injury-time penalty from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Shane Long’s extra-time winner stunned the 31,000 Anfield crowd.

Carragher added: “We’ve got a massive game coming up against Stoke now on Saturday.

“It will be very tough, as we played extra-time and we have got to show enormous character to come back.

“But that’s what we have got to do. We have got to move on but, at the same time, we have to say sorry to the fans who came to Anfield and all those watching on TV.

“The stuff that goes on off the field has got nothing to do with it. I don’t think so, anyway.

“If you say it has, you are only making excuses.

Liverpool, runners-up in the Premier League last term, are languishing in seventh place this season and already 12 points adrift of leaders Chelsea.

Even more worryingly, they are five points behind Manchester City, who occupy the crucial fourth and final Champions League spot.

Their only hope of silverware this term lies with the much-maligned Europa League.

And the fallen Kop kings face a tricky task in that next month, meeting Romanian champions Unirea Urziceni – who beat Rangers 4-1 at Ibrox in the Champions League group stages.

Carragher though insists Liverpool must mount a final charge to save a shocking season.

He added: “We have to do better and we have to recover. There are still four months left of the season – it’s been tough and this result has made it a little bit tougher for us.

“But we are Liverpool. We can’t be where we are and we have got to improve. Liverpool FC demands certain standards. At the moment we are not reaching them.”

Boss Rafa Benitez appeared to be losing the backing of the Kop faithful after the Reading defeat but insists he will ride out the storm.

He said: “I have to look forward and keep working hard.

“All I can do is to try to do my best every day, every match. That is all anyone can do.

“Right from the beginning of the season there have been problems, privately we feared it could be like that.

“But the only option is to carry on, to do your best. I accept that the season has become bad. There have been too many bad moments.”

Anfield legends were hardly lining up to back the manager.

Former striker John Aldridge said: “Rafa’s saying he’s working his hardest, getting the best out of the players – but we’ve got to see some results.

“Maybe Rafa’s lost some confidence because certainly the team’s lost confidence and they’ve lost belief.

“They’re not scoring goals and there’s a lack of togetherness on the pitch.

“Rafa’s got confidence in his own ability. If he didn’t he’d probably walk away from the situation to help the club.

“Hopefully he can turn the tide. I don’t think getting rid of Rafa now is the answer.

Former midfielder Ray Houghton said: “After what’s happened it’s going to heap more pressure on Rafa Benitez, there’s no doubt about that.

“You can keep going on about Benitez but the truth is he isn’t going at the moment.

“He will certainly be in charge until the end of the season. I would imagine then it will be up to the owners to make a decision.

“But you can’t just blame the manager. The players have to stand up and be counted in situations like that.”

Houghton’s ex-Republic of Ireland team-mate Jason McAteer said: “We seem to have become a bit fragile at Anfield and that’s really unusual.

“People are blaming Benitez and some of the signings he has made, but the team from last year hasn’t really changed from what it is this year.

“You can’t totally blame Benitez. Last night’s performance was disappointing in the fact there was a lack of passion shown but that comes from the players not the manager.

“Rafa Benitez doesn’t have the funds to spend millions on a top-class international.

“He buys players that show a lot of potential like Ryan Babel and Lucas, but unfortunately when you bring in this kind of potential the player has to fulfil it and they haven’t done that.

Read the article on The Sun

Carragher: We’re sorry

JAMIE CARRAGHER last night issued a public apology to Liverpool fans for their FA Cup humiliation.

Defeat to Championship strugglers Reading on Wednesday night was the latest chapter in a season that has already seen them dumped out of the Champions League and fall way behind in the race for the Premier League title.

It all comes against a backdrop of boardroom turmoil that saw co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett fall out while the club is suffering financial hardship.

Now vice-captain and Anfield great Carragher has spoken out on behalf of the under-fire squad, saying: “We have to apologise for the way we performed.

“It was a very bad night for Liverpool and we can’t disguise that, we had to do more against a side from a lower league.

“We have to accept Reading deserved it. But, at the same time, we have got to look at ourselves and the way we performed was not acceptable.”

Liverpool looked like squeaking through 1-0 courtesy of Ryan Bertrand’s own goal until an injury-time penalty from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Shane Long’s extra-time winner stunned the 31,000 Anfield crowd.

Carragher added: “We’ve got a massive game coming up against Stoke now on Saturday.

“It will be very tough, as we played extra-time and we have got to show enormous character to come back.

“But that’s what we have got to do. We have got to move on but, at the same time, we have to say sorry to the fans who came to Anfield and all those watching on TV.

“The stuff that goes on off the field has got nothing to do with it. I don’t think so, anyway.

“If you say it has, you are only making excuses.

Liverpool, runners-up in the Premier League last term, are languishing in seventh place this season and already 12 points adrift of leaders Chelsea.

Even more worryingly, they are five points behind Manchester City, who occupy the crucial fourth and final Champions League spot.

Their only hope of silverware this term lies with the much-maligned Europa League.

And the fallen Kop kings face a tricky task in that next month, meeting Romanian champions Unirea Urziceni – who beat Rangers 4-1 at Ibrox in the Champions League group stages.

Carragher though insists Liverpool must mount a final charge to save a shocking season.

He added: “We have to do better and we have to recover. There are still four months left of the season – it’s been tough and this result has made it a little bit tougher for us.

“But we are Liverpool. We can’t be where we are and we have got to improve. Liverpool FC demands certain standards. At the moment we are not reaching them.”

Boss Rafa Benitez appeared to be losing the backing of the Kop faithful after the Reading defeat but insists he will ride out the storm.

He said: “I have to look forward and keep working hard.

“All I can do is to try to do my best every day, every match. That is all anyone can do.

“Right from the beginning of the season there have been problems, privately we feared it could be like that.

“But the only option is to carry on, to do your best. I accept that the season has become bad. There have been too many bad moments.”

Anfield legends were hardly lining up to back the manager.

Former striker John Aldridge said: “Rafa’s saying he’s working his hardest, getting the best out of the players – but we’ve got to see some results.

“Maybe Rafa’s lost some confidence because certainly the team’s lost confidence and they’ve lost belief.

“They’re not scoring goals and there’s a lack of togetherness on the pitch.

“Rafa’s got confidence in his own ability. If he didn’t he’d probably walk away from the situation to help the club.

“Hopefully he can turn the tide. I don’t think getting rid of Rafa now is the answer.

Former midfielder Ray Houghton said: “After what’s happened it’s going to heap more pressure on Rafa Benitez, there’s no doubt about that.

“You can keep going on about Benitez but the truth is he isn’t going at the moment.

“He will certainly be in charge until the end of the season. I would imagine then it will be up to the owners to make a decision.

“But you can’t just blame the manager. The players have to stand up and be counted in situations like that.”

Houghton’s ex-Republic of Ireland team-mate Jason McAteer said: “We seem to have become a bit fragile at Anfield and that’s really unusual.

“People are blaming Benitez and some of the signings he has made, but the team from last year hasn’t really changed from what it is this year.

“You can’t totally blame Benitez. Last night’s performance was disappointing in the fact there was a lack of passion shown but that comes from the players not the manager.

“Rafa Benitez doesn’t have the funds to spend millions on a top-class international.

“He buys players that show a lot of potential like Ryan Babel and Lucas, but unfortunately when you bring in this kind of potential the player has to fulfil it and they haven’t done that.

Read the article on The Sun

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