Jamie Carragher has just made an outrageous claim about this current Liverpool side

Liverpool fans are counting down the days until they face Porto in their Champions League last-16 tie.

It’s been nine long years since the Reds were last in the knockout stages of Europe’s elite competition.

That was way back in April 2009, when they played out an incredible 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge – a result that saw them crash out 7-5 on aggregate in the quarter-finals.

The captain that night was Jamie Carragher and he’s struggled to contain his excitement as European knockout football returns to Anfield.

“It has been too long,” Carragher told the Liverpool Echo.

“Over the years when I was playing maybe we took it for granted getting to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

“Now only when you’ve been away for so long, you appreciate how big a thing it is.

“Hopefully the manager and the lads can help us keep moving forward and get through that Porto tie.

“Then you’ve got the excitement of the draw and it keeps the season going in terms of a trophy still being up for grabs.”

Of course, Carragher was part of the side that did the unthinkable back in 2005.

Liverpool were 3-0 down to AC Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul, only to draw 3-3 before triumphing on penalties.

Jurgen Klopp’s side certainly aren’t amongst one of the favourites to win the competition this time around.

However, Carragher seems to think that there’s no reason why this current team can’t emulate the 2005 side and go all the way. After all, he believes Klopp’s side is actually better than the side Rafa Benitez assembled.

“Yes, Liverpool are big outsiders this season,” Carragher said.

“But this team is better than the Liverpool team I played in that won the Champions League in 2005.

“It will be tough against Porto but it’s a winnable tie and if we get through that who knows what could happen.

“With all the talk about getting into the top four and qualifying for the Champions League for next season, we shouldn’t forget that we’re still in the competition this season.

“I’m going over to Portugal myself next week and hopefully we can get a good result and see where it takes us.”

Better than a side that had a spine of Carragher, Sami Hyypia, Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard?

That’s some statement – and one that most Liverpool fans probably won’t agree with.

As for winning the competition this season, the likes of Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris-Saint Germain might have something to say about that.