Carragher: Liverpool's title test starts now

November 2, 2008

Jamie Carragher has demanded an instant return to winning ways as Liverpool negotiate what he views as an increasingly unforgiving Premier League title race.

The Reds slipped off the summit of the table with their 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane on Saturday, Carragher's own goal letting Tottenham Hotspur back into the match.

Chelsea responded to last weekend's home defeat to Liverpool by putting eight goals past Hull and Sunderland and Carragher wants a similar response from his team-mates.

"Look how Chelsea have reacted since we beat them and how Manchester United reacted when they lost to us," he said.

"They've been on a great run since. It's how you come back from your setbacks that counts. This will be a test for us now.

"If you want to show you're championship contenders it's how you bounce back that matters.

"Before Jose Mourinho came to Chelsea you could get away with losing five or six but now it seems to be three or four.

"The standards are so high. You can't afford to lose too many."

Fixtures against the likes of West Brom, Bolton and Fulham mean Liverpool face, at least on paper, a kind November but Carragher is taking nothing for granted.

"It's a different test in itself playing against the teams lower down," he said.

"Portsmouth was a very difficult game and we didn't score until late on.

"If we play as well as we can we should go on to win the next six games but in the past we've come unstuck in those matches and it's important we get maximum points now."

Fernando Torres should be back for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Carragher admits Torres has been missed but insists the squad should be able to cope in his absence.

"You'll always miss Torres. He's probably the best striker in the world of his type," he said.

"Even if we'd won here we would have still missed him because he's such a great player. That's what squads are for.

"That's why the manager talks every year about big squads and good benches.

"Everyone misses players. Chelsea are without Didier Drogba at the moment. You've just got to adapt to it."

Liverpool could have done with Torres' clinical touch as they let a series of chances go begging against Spurs before Carragher's own goal changed the match.

"That's the Premier League for you. Credit to Spurs but we were in total control," said Carragher.

"We should have got a second or third goal but if you don't do that Spurs have definitely got quality going forward.

"I'm disappointed to score the own goal. I don't know what happened. I don't know if I was unlucky - I'll have to see it again.

"Even then 1-1 isn't too bad at Spurs. It's not an easy place to go, even though they're in a bad situation.

"We're more than disappointed to concede a goal in the last minute. We missed a couple of chances we would normally score.

"Normally when you're in such control you go on to win the game but you have to give credit to Tottenham for showing character and sticking in there.

"Harry Redknapp is having quite an effect there."