Steven Gerrard relieved as Liverpool see off Wolves
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admitted his relief after his fine opening goal set up a 2-0 Premier League win over Wolves.
Second-half goals from Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun gave nervy Liverpool a victory that was only secured once Wolves had been reduced to ten men.
Gerrard told ESPN: "Wolves come here organised, they were always going to be difficult to beat. It was just all about waiting for that breakthrough. We were nervous at times, the crowd were getting on our backs at times. But we knew if we had the belief it would come, and it did.
"When you're not getting the results you expect it's always going to affect confidence. But we want to put it right. The players are hurting at the moment. If we keep showing the attitude we did today we'll move up to where we want to be.''
Defender Jamie Carragher conceded the dismissal of Stephen Ward had assisted the Reds' cause. Ward was eventually penalised for a second bookable offence, referee Andre Marriner at first getting the wrong man and cautioning Christophe Berra.
Carragher said: "Wolves played very well first half, were very well organised and caught us on the counter-attack a couple of times. The sending-off obviously gave us a helping hand.
"Once you get the first (goal) it settles people down but I think the second one killed the game, especially when they had ten men. That's what we needed because we're not fully confident at the moment so it certainly settled the nerves.''
Both Rafa Benitez and Mick MCarthy had differing views of Stephen Ward's dismissal in a 2-0 win for Liverpool at Anfield on Boxing Day. Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez told ESPN: "We knew they would be tough. They were working very hard. The sending-off I think was clear. We were more in control. We were in control at the beginning of the second half in particular, but you have to score goals.
"It was important to win and the first goal was really, really important for us. The second one was killing the game.''
Wolves counterpart Mick McCarthy, however, did not agree that Ward deserved to be given his marching orders. "I've just had a look at our replay and I don't think it's a sending-off,'' he said. "I don't think he caught him. I think he's running out of space and he's fallen over.
"I don't know if he got any help from the fourth official, from Phil Dowd, but if he did I just wonder about getting a bit of help for the Irish team in France, because I didn't think you could do it. I guess once he's made up his mind it's a booking for Berra he's got to get the book out for Ward. I've seen it, I just don't think he caught him.''
McCarthy was proud of his players' performance despite the defeat. "I'm really proud of the way we played,'' he added. "I think the fans showed they were proud of the effort. It's all hinged on a decision that's really changed the game.
"You need a break sometimes. Liverpool were desperately in need of a break and I think they've been given one because we were down to 10 men.
"We contained them. We didn't look in any danger. It's hard work playing against them (even) with 11.''