Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool's hopes of securing European qualification remain very much alive - particularly following Manchester City's progression into the FA Cup final.

Currently, only a fifth-place finish will be sufficient enough for the Reds to gain entry into next season's Europa League.

However, should City prevail against Stoke City in next month's Wembley final but fail to secure a top-four berth in the Barclays Premier League, the team finishing in sixth will be allocated a place in Europe.

Carragher feels the scenario could benefit Liverpool.

"I think they (European hopes) are realistic," he told Liverpoolfc.tv. "We've got another opportunity now with City reaching the FA Cup final - if they can win the cup and don't finish in the top four, that's another avenue.

"I'm looking at all the different ways we can get in there. I'm desperate for us to get back into Europe - Liverpool have to be in Europe."

With five matches left to play, Liverpool are four points behind fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur following Sunday's 1-1 draw at Arsenal.

Only Manchester United have accumulated more Barclays Premier League points than the Reds since Kenny Dalglish's return as manager in January - and Carragher was delighted to pick up another one at the Emirates, particularly given the current injury situation at Anfield.

Click the image below to watch our chat with Carra

He said: "At any time, going away to Arsenal and coming back with a point, you'd take that even if you had your full team out.

"So to go there with the (injury) problems we had, and with Arsenal going for the league as well, it shows what a good result it was and what a great job the manager, Steve Clarke and Sammy (Lee) have done.

"It was a great point."

With a clutch of first-team players already on the treatment table prior to the trip to north London, Liverpool lost Fabio Aurelio in the early stages of the clash due to a hamstring injury.

The second half saw Andy Carroll sustain a knee problem, while Carragher himself was forced to leave the field after being knocked unconscious following an accidental collision with John Flanagan.

It meant the vice-captain watched the dramatic final few moments, in which Robin van Persie and Dirk Kuyt both netted from the penalty spot, on a television in the changing rooms.

"I'd come round in the dressing room. There was a TV in there, so I was watching the last few minutes of the game," Carragher revealed.  "I was sick when they got the penalty and scored it, I thought that was it.

"I was actually on the phone to my dad and son when we got the penalty, so I told them we'd just been given a pen and everyone was delighted."

Carragher's clash with Flanagan left him requiring several minutes of lengthy treatment before he was carried from the field.

He laughed: "I feel a bit better now!

"At the time it was a bit of a whack and I was knocked out, but I feel okay now and will hopefully be okay for the weekend.

"It was just one of them things. John's enthusiastic, eager and keen and that's why he will go for every ball. It's exactly the way I was, and probably still am now which is why I went for it (the ball).

"It's part of the game. I'm sure I've whacked a few people over the course of my career!"

Liverpool are back in action on Saturday afternoon when they play host to Birmingham City.

The Blues are unbeaten on their last four visits to Anfield, while the Reds haven't defeated them in the league since May 2004.

Carragher knows it's a statistic that needs to change.

He said: "They're a decent side, Birmingham. Alex McLeish has done a great job. Going to Birmingham is always a tough game, but at home our record against them is not good and that's something we'll look to rectify at the weekend and get three points.

"We certainly need them because we're fighting for Europe. They're also fighting for their lives as well. But Birmingham is a tough game and it will show at the weekend that it won't be easy."

Carragher added: "I am confident we can open anyone up, it's just about whether we can produce the goods on the day.

"If we can do as well as we did against Manchester City in the last home game, I'm sure that will be enough."

Birmingham will journey to Merseyside as the League Cup holders having defeated Arsenal in dramatic circumstances at Wembley earlier this year - and Carragher knows they will pose a stern test.

"It was a great thing for them in winning the League Cup against Arsenal," he said. "The position they were in a few weeks ago, you wouldn't associate Birmingham with being near the bottom three, but they've clawed themselves out of it.

"They're not a team who you'd think would go down because they've got such a great home record, they're very good defensively, very tough to beat and they give everyone they play a tough game."

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