Rodgers pays tribute to Carragher

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits it is a shame Jamie Carragher will not be around next season.

Last Updated: 03/05/13 at 15:57 Post Comment

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits it is a shame Jamie Carragher will not be around next season after the "incredible" form he has been in.

The 35-year-old will play in his 30th and final Merseyside derby this weekend, after which he will have just two matches left in a distinguished career with the Reds.

When he runs out at Anfield on Sunday, Carragher will join an illustrious club of Ian Rush, Bruce Grobbelaar, Alan Hansen, Ian Callaghan and Ronnie Whelan to have played at least 30 times against the Toffees.

The centre-back is moving into television punditry next season and Rodgers admits their gain is not only a loss to Liverpool but the game itself.

"Last week at Newcastle (in the 6-0 victory) how he marshalled the defence and how he played - everything about his game is at the top level," said the Reds boss.

"I can't think of enough words to describe him. His performance level has been incredible.

"It (retirement) is such a shame because he probably could play on but he has already made his mind up.

"His dream was to go out at the top and he is fulfilling that dream because he is a top operator at this level.

"But his concentration will be on the games and no further than Everton."

For Bootle-born Carragher, a boyhood Everton fan, and club captain Steven Gerrard, from Huyton, the Merseyside derby is a significant event in the season.

"Everton is a massive game for Jamie, he's a boy from the city and Steven (Gerrard) as well," added the Reds boss.

"These are guys who have shown passion in every single game - but this one adds a little bit more for them.

"I am sure Jamie will want to play his last derby and finish it on a high."

Rodgers' big problem is finding an adequate replacement for Carragher, with Swansea captain Ashley Williams linked with a reunion with his former boss.

"I haven't thought overly about it. The concentration is on the team at the moment," said the Northern Irishman.

"He has obviously been a colossal player and still is for the club and if you lose someone of that magnitude it can be difficult.

"The job is to look at other possibilities and move forward. We've looked at some players but there is nothing concrete."

This derby takes on more importance as a victory for the Toffees would ensure they finish above their near-neighbours.

That will be the second successive season it has happened - and the first time since Liverpool were promoted back to the top flight in 1962.

Everton have not won at Anfield since 1999 and Rodgers will not want to be the manager who relinquishes that stranglehold on the fixture.

"I never read too much into that stuff to be honest," he said.

"We went to Wigan this year and the team hadn't won there for a number of years and we played very well and won.

"We are expected to win our games at home.

"Traditionally for many years Liverpool has been the top team in the city, no question about that.

"Obviously last year Everton finished above ourselves but for us it is very important to finish as high as we possibly can.

"It will be a tough game because Everton are a good side and David (Moyes) has done a good job there.

"We are coming into the game with real confidence. Our performance last week was outstanding and the team is full of confidence in both attacking and defending."

Luis Suarez serves the second of his 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic and while he will not be available again until late September at the earliest Rodgers insists the striker will not be taking it easy.

"There is no holiday. The guy needs to go away and work and rehabilitate and hopefully come into next season a better player," he said.

"He is getting all the support from the club and he is willing to work hard to be better."


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