Clubs need to be loyal to players and the other way around is also true, but there are limitations. Holding on to expensive players just because they used to be great players isn’t very wise financially, which means that Jamie Carragher won’t be a Liverpool player for very long.
The 34 year old Carragher still has some football left in his bones, but not at the level Liverpool need their players to be if they think about Champions League and high places such as that. Carragher has declined in his position at the club over the last three years, along with his ability. He played in 21 matches last season and only 10 so far this year, usually coming off the bench and sometimes being the fourth option at centre back, behind Sebastian Coates and the two regular starters.
Carragher, 16 years a Liverpool player, is a free player once this season ends. Brendan Rodgers has said that Carragher doesn’t need to retire, but there have been no talks regarding an extension, which means that the former captain might look for a new club in the 2013 summer, someone who sort of retired from England to focus on his Liverpool career, and one of those who had no problem in admitting club matters much more than country for him.
The Manager has tried to keep me involved but it’s been a difficult season for me in terms of starting games. I’ve played a lot in Europe, the FA Cup and League Cup but the Premier League is the most important thing for the club and the players. We all want to play in that and I’m no different. The manager has always kept me involved by having me on the bench or bringing me on in different situations. But I want to start. I’m no different to any other player. I’m just pleased he gave me the nod on Saturday and pleased it went well.
Carragher is aware that he no longer deserves a permanent place in the starting lineup. Too slow and physically weaker to allow his passion and determination to overcome those faults that usually come with age. Carragher was always much more of a fighter who doesn’t give up even after a player gets by him once, than a clever centre back with perfect timing and positioning. The only question left for him is if to retire, with Liverpool the only team on his resume, or seek for more playing time with a new club.
It’s difficult when you’re a senior player and you’ve been very much a No1 player. Steven Gerrard and Jamie have arguably been the best players for at Liverpool for 10 years. If that slips in 18 months and you’re not playing as much then it is going to give the player a question to answer. We’ll just take it week by week – he and I communicate a lot. What I know at this stage is he’s 35 on 28 January but for me he’s super-fit, in great condition and can still play on. There is no doubt we’ve missed the leadership he offers. We’ve done terrific against the teams at Anfield who can make it difficult but in the big games we want to kick on, and for that you need experience, leadership and organisation. That is something I know Jamie has got.
Right now, the best thing Carragher has to offer are his leadership skills and influence on the team. When it comes to football, even the mediocre Martin Skrtel is a better player than him, although Liverpool might do better with another man playing next to Daniel Agger.
I’ll chat to the manager at the end of the season. I’m open-minded and I’m sure the club are. But the club getting results is the most important thing. It’s not about what I’m going to do, that’s something we can sort out one way or another.
The most important thing for Jamie Carragher, always has been, is what Liverpool get out of it. Maybe he does have an Everton tattoo, maybe it’s just a foolish rumor. Many Liverpool players were Everton fans in their younger days. Things change. Carragher needs to do what’s good for him. If he still has the passion for football, he needs to find himself a new club.