Jamie Carragher’s cold assessment of Liverpool’s failure in Athens was brutally clear: “We were just not good enough.”

Anfield’s lion-hearted defender saw AC Milan grab their opener from a free-kick deflected past Jose Reina by Filippo Inzaghi’s arm, before a late break through the Reds’ defence by the same striker as Liverpool were pressing desperately for an equaliser.

Dirk Kuyt’s late effort was not enough to haul the final into extra-time, and Carragher said: “The honest truth is that we were not good enough.

“There’s no point making excuses, Milan just about deserved it. But nobody remembers the runners-up, we know we did not do enough.

“I am not going to moan about things that went against us. We did not do enough and we must pick ourselves up and have another go next season.”

But the Bootle-born centre-half knows it was mighty close to Liverpool claiming their sixth European Cup.

He said: “We limited them to just one chance in the first half, but when we were creating chances in that period we had to take them. And when we didn’t we were punished with that free-kick.

“In the second period maybe we got tired towards the end and that gave them the chance for their second.

“These are the little things that cost you in the end. But we will bounce back, we have shown we are a very good side in the Champions League.

“Their goal at half-time was a killer. I know some people might think it was handball, but I’m not going to start crying about that, they are a great side and deserved it on the night.

“They did not have many chances, I can only remember a couple. But they scored their chances.

“It did not happen for us, we never really created much either. We did not create a situation where we could really go at Milan and create real pressure.

Midfielder Xabi Alonso echoed his colleague’s views, saying: “It had been a long road to the final and we are unhappy that we didn’t achieve what we wanted. Everyone was very disappointed in the dressing room.

“It was a very tight game. And I have no doubt their first goal so near to the break was the key moment.

“The ball was deflected, Pepe Reina would have saved it otherwise, you lose a final and it is down to something as small as that.

“They were then able to defend very deep and make it hard for us to find space.

“That first goal was lucky, and it allowed Milan to sit back afterwards and hit us on the break, and that is how they scored their second.”

He added: “At the moment it is no consolation that we have reached another final and finished third in the Premier League.

“But we have must look forward and make sure we improve as a side. We must get some rest and come back next season refreshed and looking to get better.

“Yes I expect the squad to be improved, but we will have to wait and see what happens. I am not thinking too much about such things for now, but I realise things will happen wit the squad.

“We will see what we will see. We will have to wait to discover where we go from here.”

  • soccer dr nyc

    well pool did not play the defensive soccer that they do all the time ,so there we go

  • Ghost Rider

    Their problem was the defense. Their problem is they don’t have anyone who can put the ball in the goal. They played Gerrard as a striker for crying out loud. That’s how much confidence Benitez has in his strikers.

  • yoyo

    Ghost, I agree. Their defense is always solid. It was lack of scoring. Not only did they lack someone to put the ball in the net, but they also lacked someone to make one big pass, one cross on to a target. They had plenty of chances, it wasn’t even that Milan played swarming defense. Liverpool just couldn’t finish.

  • yoyo

    Also, Benitez usually pushes the right buttons, but I don’t know why he left Zenden in so long. He was worthless. And I think Crouch would have given Milan trouble in the box. The Liverpool wingers definitely could have used a bigger target.

  • DynastySoccerFC … Rasputin

    What really surprised me is after that first Milan goal it was if the life had been taken out of Liverpool. Think of how many big games in Champions League they had to come back & win & yesterday they just seemed totally flat in the second half. Gerrard might as well not been on the pitch as he was very quiet in that second half. Kuyt was the only Liverpool player out there really playing with any sense of urgency & when Crouch was brought on it was too little, too late. Liverpool had so many good chances in the first half to convert & they wasted them. Benitez is a very smart & crafty manager that I respect but he made some big errors with the lineup yesterday by not bringing on Crouch in the first half. Had he brought on Crouch early on it might have been much different. They also should have brought on Mark Gonzalez & put him on the left. With Kuyt, Crouch, & Gonzalez all on the pitch up front at the same time I think Liverpool would have scored more goals. Gerrard is a great player but to be honest he played a below average game yesterday. I’m not sure who it was on the left flank for Liverpool but that guy should not have been out there. He had no pace at all & couldn’t get past Milan’s backs if his life depended on it. Liverpool just didn’t seem to have that fighting spirit they are known for yesterday.

  • Ghost Rider

    Crouch should start. It’s shocking that Liverpool don’t have a single decent left-midfielder. Zenden was poor, what happened to Mark Gonzalez, Kewell hasn’t been good for at least 3 years. I foresee a serious shakeup at Anfield.

  • Antonio Garcia

    Carra & Liverpool should not be ashamed. After all it is not as if they lost to a fair team. They lost to cheats & crooks. That is what Milan is. The first Milan goal was complete garbage as it was put in by a Milan player’s arm. Everyone saw it & the ref chose to ignore it. Plus Milan was like almost every team in serieA found guilty of the match fix scandal. To let them play in champions league is not fair to all other teams from europe that go by the rules. Milan are champions of cheats.