Carragher eyes Liverpool UCL return
Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher is hoping Sunday's Carling Cup final triumph will galvanise the club in their fight for a top four finish and Champions League football.
The Reds have not played in Europe's premier club competition since 2009-10, when they were eliminated at the group stage after finishing third behind Fiorentina and Lyon.
This season has represented Carragher's first campaign without any continental competition since 1999, and despite being guraneteed Europa League football in 2012-13 after their League Cup win, he says he is desperate to play in the Champions League again.
"I think we are bigger than that,'' Carragher said. "We should be looking to get into Europe every year through our league position rather than through winning the Carling Cup.
"Yes, it is nice to have it in the bag but we are bigger and better than that. The next step is trying to get back into the Champions League. We know it is going to be a difficult task and obviously we have got a big game coming up against Arsenal this weekend.
"They will be flying after the win over Tottenham. But getting back into the Champions League has got to be the next step for this club. Europe is part of our heritage and we need to be involved again.''
On a personal level, Carragher said he and fellow Merseysider Steven Gerrard felt a sense of "relief" after picking up their first trophy with Liverpool since the 2006 FA Cup win under Rafa Benitez.
"We're coming to the latter stages of our career, myself and Stevie, and because we have gone so long without winning anything you don't want to finish your career going seven or eight years without,'' he told talkSPORT.
"It was a relief for both of us to get a trophy, for ourselves and the club. It maybe takes the pressure off now for the next year or two and we can relax and go on to try to win more trophies, hopefully bigger trophies.''