Jamie Carragher: Liverpool must overcome ‘massive’ Brighton test in FA Cup

The veteran centre-back believes maintaining momentum ahead of the League Cup final is important but that the Reds will have a tough time against a side with nothing to lose
Jamie Carragher feels that Sunday’s FA Cup fifth-round match at home to Brighton is of “massive” importance for Liverpool and will be a stern test.

The veteran defender is well aware that the Seagulls will pose a test, calling on his past experience in cup competitions against lower league opposition, after being knocked out on several occasions.

“There are no easy games in the FA Cup - I could tell you that from the teams we've been knocked out by over the years,” Carragher told the club’s official website.

“We've had some bad results against lower-league opposition, but that's what makes the FA Cup what it is. That's why it's so special when you do win it because you realise the pitfalls along the way.

“It would be disappointing if we were to go out having knocked Manchester United out of the last round [in January]. It's a massive game for us and if we win we'll be into the quarter-finals, and if you do well there then you're at Wembley.”

The centre-back has suffered more than one cup slip-up at Anfield during his long Reds career, with Crystal Palace, Barnsley and Reading all among the lower-ranked sides to have toppled the hosts.

“Lower-league teams can play like they've got nothing to lose when they come to Anfield because they haven't - they've got no fear and no worries. If they get beat they're expected to lose,” Carragher observed.

“For them it's a win/win really, but we're used to that. Most teams we play at Anfield will approach the game like that and there's always pressure on us to produce at home - and rightly so.”

“We've beaten them before and we would expect to win with the game being at Anfield, but it certainly won't be easy,” the 34-year-old added of his side’s 2-1 victory at the Amex Stadium in September.

“The football they played was outstanding for a team at that level. You don't normally expect that, but that's great credit to their players and also to the manager Gus Poyet for what a great job he's done.

“They're a very good footballing team and keep possession of the ball well, and that's something we'll have to try and stop at Anfield.”

Liverpool have already secured a place in the League Cup final and Carragher believes that manager Kenny Dalglish’s approach to cup competitions is the cause.

“I put it down to the manager for putting out strong sides from the very beginning and giving the competition the respect it deserves,” the defender stated.

With the Brighton game the last before their date at Wembley, Carragher is hoping that they will be able to look ahead to a similar run in the FA Cup afterwards.

“It is important to sign off with a win because you go into it [the final] with a buzz,” he added.

“Hopefully we can win the League Cup, but when that's finished and put to bed, we'll still need to be in the FA Cup and keep something else to look forward to at the end of the season.”