Jamie Carragher is a Liverpool legend that has played at the highest level for sixteen years with the club. Carragher deserves to go down in history alongside the all-time greats such as Ian Callaghan, Tommy Smith, Kenny Dalglish and Billy Liddell as a truly great servant to the club.
There’s no question about it, Jamie Carragher is the modern day version of Mr. Liverpool.
However, with the arrival of Brendan Rodgers it’s somewhat difficult to see where he fits in and what is new role will be within the first team squad. Former manager Kenny Dalglish had already started Carragher’s transition from stalwart to bit-part player, and under Rodgers, that process will likely be accelerated.
For the first time since the late ‘90s, Carragher is no longer a first choice, as the new back four automatically picks itself when everyone is fit. Last season has saw the partnership of Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger flourish, and in particular Skrtel made great strides in improving his game and was voted the Reds’ Player of the season by Liverpool fans.
The dilemma is that Carragher is mainly used to the old British ‘lump-it’ style which Rodgers isn’t enamored with and as a result he will find it tough to break his way into the team ahead of last season’s pairing, particularly the cultured Daniel Agger.
With a place in the starting 11 unlikely, Brendan Rodgers must try to find a new role for Jamie Carragher. Despite his age, there’s no reason for him not to be an integral part of the first team squad, even though his appearances maybe limited.
The man has so much passion and affection for the club so it’s unthinkable to completely get rid of him. Carragher has been written off by critics many times before, suggesting it’s time for the Liverpool veteran to hang up his boots. Nevertheless, he’s managed to bounce back and prove his worth on a consistent basis. Now though, Carragher himself admits he’s no longer first choice.
I know I am not first-choice but if people get knocks or suspensions I am there to come in and help and do as well as I can. I would never think about moving on in the summer, no, no.
Carragher will know that his best years are well behind him. He’s an intelligent player and an honest man. He won’t try to deceive anyone, especially himself, into believing that he should be first choice. Never the quickest to begin with, Carragher legs regularly let him down when it comes to a footrace these days and he simply doesn’t have the technique to play the high-tempo style of play that Rodgers will demand of his troops.
However if Rodgers decides to play an alternative system, he could still have a place in the squad. Rodgers knows that if he ever needs to call on Carragher at any stage during the season he’ll be there in a heartbeat.
Carragher could be used to more in European games, as Liverpool will want to prioritize the Premier League. Carragher can offer his experience to those who haven’t played in a European competition. As he’s seeing out his contract at Liverpool, he could be captaining a second string Liverpool side in the early rounds of both the Europa League and the Carling Cup. In those games he will be able to pass on some of his wealth of knowledge and expertise to players like Sebastian Coates, Martin Kelly, Danny Wilson and Andre Wisdom. This will help their development and improve them as players.
Brendan Rodgers has made it clear that both Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have a key role to play as he shapes a new era at Anfield.
People like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have, for years, borne the weight of that jersey and performed and those guys will be important going forward for me.
While Gerrard will continue to captain the side and play a key role on a weekly basis, Carragher, who turns 35 next January, will be acutely aware that his playing days are almost over and he has already taken steps towards life after playing with his long term view being to manage at the highest level, specifically at Liverpool.
Many pundits, players, and supporters believe that Carragher will make an outstanding coach. His organizational skills are second to none, he’s a true student of the game and he’s helped numerous young defenders through games during his time at Liverpool. One would think that it’s only a matter of time before we see him in a coaching role at Melwood.
It may be in everyone’s best interests if Carragher, after this coming season, extends his relationship with Liverpool as a member of the coaching staff rather than as a player and takes the first steps into his next career in surroundings he’s familiar with.