LIVERPOOL defender Jamie Carragher is refusing to concede defeat in the race for Europe.
The Reds spurned the chance to close the gap on fifth-placed Tottenham on Saturday as they lost 2-1 at West Brom.
With seven matches to go, Kenny Dalglish's side are five points adrift of Spurs who also have a game in hand.
However, Carragher is hoping a positive response against Manchester City a week tonight will re-ignite the Reds' hopes of Europa League qualification.
“I don’t think losing the extra point here with that late goal will make or break how we finish the end of the season,” he said.
“We have still got a bit of catching up to do on Tottenham. They only drew and if we had won we would have closed the gap on them. There have been plenty of times this season when we thought European qualification had gone. Wigan at home, West Ham away.
“But then you get a couple of good results after those and you think it’s back on.
“With this defeat it looks as if we are even further away now. But you never know – a couple of good results and we could be back in it. We beat Man U after losing to West Ham; hopefully we can do the same against Man City and give everyone a lift. We have got to go again.”
The Reds were severely hampered by the loss of both Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger to injury early on at The Hawthorns.
However, Carragher insisted there were no excuses for a defeat inflicted by two penalties from Chris Brunt after Martin Skrtel had headed the visitors in front.
“It is always frustrating to lose a game, especially late on,” he said.
“If you look at the season, we haven’t drawn too many games and that is another one where a draw wouldn’t have been the worst result after the international break.
“We were not at our best and it has happened a few times this season. A couple of draws here and there would have given us an extra three or four points. That is another one gone. It’s not ideal that two players got injured in the first 25 minutes.
“We have got a few injuries there anyway with Fabio Aurelio and Martin Kelly out.
“But injuries are part of the game and you have to deal with it. That is what the squad is there for. It happens to other teams, so we can’t use it as an excuse.
“I thought they were both penalties – no complaints. The referee’s assistant gave the second penalty but that’s what he’s there for. The referee was closer and maybe had a better view but didn’t give the penalty. It was the right decision eventually.”
It proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Reds strikers Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.
Carroll received little protection from referee Martin Atkinson, while Suarez went close to a late equaliser.
Carragher said: “I had to tell Andy to calm down after he got the yellow card. He was very unfortunate and if anyone was going to get a yellow card, it should have been the defender for the amount of knocks and whacks Andy took.
“When you have been booked, you have to be careful. We needed Andy to stay on the pitch and credit to Andy, he did that in the second half.
“Luis was unlucky not to score at the end.
“In the last 10 minutes he produced a few bits of magic and he has done that since he has been at the club.
“He has been fantastic. It is disappointing that we couldn’t open them up in the first 80 minutes like we did in the last 10.
“We have got a few injuries now, so it is more important than ever that we stick together between now and the end of the season.”
LIVERPOOL Reserves are in action tonight when they take on Aston Villa at Villa Park (7pm).