Tag Archives: Jamie Carragher

Liverpool Strengthen Defence

4 Sep

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Liverpool Strengthen Defence

Liverpool made some shrewd acquisitions to their squad during the summer, and especially in defence. Liverpool looked vulnerable in defence with the loss of Jamie Carragher to retirement in the summer and with the recent news of Sebastian Coates suffering a season ending injury while on international duty. Liverpool looked short of central defenders with only Martin Skrtel, Martin Kelly and Andre Wisdom able to partner Daniel Agger in central defence.

But the addition of Kolo Toure on a free transfer from Manchester City has added quality and experience to Liverpool’s defence. Liverpool added another two defenders on the last day of the transfer window with the signings of Tiago Ilori from Sporting Lisbon and Mamadou Sakho from Paris St. Germain.

Ilori is only 20 years old but is 6 foot 3 and very quick, he might not go straight into the team and be one for the future, but Sakho could go straight into the team. He is a French international having made 14 appearances for his country and has played 151 times for Paris St. Germain.

Sakho is only 23 years old but very experienced, he plays primarily as a centre back, but can also play as a left back if necessary. Sakho is renowned for his leadership and hard-working attitude and he is very strong in the tackle. Sakho is an intimidating sight and stands 6 foot 2 and usually has an eccentric hair style.

Sakho made his debut for Paris St. Germain in October 2007 when manager Paul Le Guen gave the defender his chance. On his league debut, he became the youngest ever player to captain a Ligue 1 club after wearing the armband in the club’s 0-0 draw with Valenciennes.

Sakho’s playing style has brought comparisons to former French international Lilian Thuram. Sakho has earned caps and captained France at every youth level before being capped at senior level.

Sakho helped Paris St. Germain to the 2008 Coupe de la Ligue when he played the full 90 minutes in the 2-1 win over Lens. The victory earned Sakho his first major trophy of his career as he made 16 appearances during the season.

The following season Sakho made 34 appearances and helped Paris St. Germain to 2nd in the league. Sakho has a wealth of experience for someone so young and Liverpool have targeted him as the ideal player for their defence by paying the sum of £18 million for his service.

Liverpool are quite a small team which can leave them vulnerable at set-pieces, so Sakho’s physique and height will help Liverpool in these situations.

The leadership that Jamie Carragher gave to the team was so important as most of Liverpool’s defenders are quiet, so Sakho will be a great replacement for Carragher’s leadership skills, as he is very good at organising his defence.

Liverpool have looked struggled against big powerful strikers during the last couple of seasons so Sakho’s arrival will help deal with that problem because he is a big physical defender who is not scared to put his foot in.

Liverpool’s squad is looking stronger this season with the additions that Brendan Rodgers has made. There is a good mix of youth and experience in the squad and plenty of competition for places in every position.

During the summer it looked like Liverpool were going to be very short of defenders and strikers, although the midfield department looked strong. Liverpool looked like they were going to lose their star striker Suarez, so to keep him has been massive for the club as he tried to manufacture a move away for most of the summer. But Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool’s owners dealt with Suarez superbly and it seems like he is now happy to stay and continue his career at Liverpool for at least another season.

Liverpool added Moses from Chelsea on a season’s loan which will help Liverpool’s attack and the development of youngsters like Sterling, Ibe and Morgan to name a few is another option for Rodgers.

But Liverpool’s defence suddenly looks very strong with Johnson, Kelly, Flanagan and Wisdom all competing for right-back and Wisdom, Kelly, Ilori, Sakho, Agger, Toure and Skrtel all competing for the 2 positions in the centre of defence. Liverpool also have options at left-back with Enrique and new signing Cissokho when he returns from injury, there is also the option of switching Glen Johnson to left back too.

Liverpool don’t have the added fixtures this season that inclusion in European competition creates, so that will help Liverpool concentrate on challenging for a top 4 place.

In only Brendan Rodgers second season in charge his team is now starting to take shape as he has moved players out who doesn’t suit his style of play and he has brought players in that he wants to take Liverpoool forward and Sakho will play a major role in Liverpool’s success.

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Gerrard’s Testimonial

3 Aug

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Liverpool 2-0 Olympiacos Match Report

 

Anfield paid tribute and showed their appreciation to one of Liverpool’s greatest ever players Steven Gerrard in his testimonial match against Olympiacos. Goals from Joe Allen in the first half and Jordan Henderson in the second half capped a superb day for the Liverpool Captain.

 

The Team

 

Although the match was Steven Gerrard’s testimonial it was still an important match in terms of match fitness for Brendan Rodgers and his squad as they prepare for the start of the new season. Rodgers started a team that looked like the one that could start against Stoke in Liverpool’s first game of the season. Mignolet, Enrique, Agger, Toure, Johnson, Lucas, Allen, Coutinho, Sterling and Aspas started alongside the man of the moment Steven Gerrard.

 

The Match

 

Steven Gerrard was welcomed by a guard of honour formed by both sets of players prior to kick-off and a standing ovation from the Anfield faithful as they saluted their hero.

 

Liverpool enjoyed plenty of possession in the early stages with loud cheers every time Gerrard received a touch of the ball. Joe Allen flashed a shot wide in the game’s first real effort.

 

Moments later Joe Allen pounced on a sloppy pass from the visitors before releasing new signing Aspas but the striker’s effort was blocked away.

 

Gerrard had the crowd excited when he lined up a long range drive but his effort was off target. Then Gerrard had a joke with referee Hasey when the unfortunate referee intercepted one of his passes.

 

Next Aspas showed a lovely bit of skill when he cleverly beat his marker before shooting into the side-netting with Joe Allen again providing the assist as his attacking runs forward were providing a big threat to the Greeks.

 

Liverpool continued to attack with Sterling and Coutinho combining in a counter-attack before Sterling’s weak shot was easily saved by the keeper.

 

Then Liverpool should have taken the lead when an extravagant flick by Aspas found Allen in the centre of the penalty area but the midfielder side-footed his volley over the bar.

 

But Allen made no mistake moments later in the 23rd minute when Joe Allen tapped home an Aspas low drive across the face of goal to give Liverpool a deserved lead.

 

Liverpool looked to be enjoying themselves with the goal encouraging them even more and next it was Glen Johnson to try his luck from long range but his strike just missed the far corner.

 

Brendan Rodgers continued with the same eleven players to start the second half and Liverpool continued to attack their visitors as Coutinho glided past a couple of defenders before shooting towards the far post but Olympiacos goalkeeper Megveri saved comfortably.

 

Then the lively Sterling curled a shot wide as he continues to impress this pre-season, before watching his lob go agonisingly wide of the post before the Anfield crowd showed great appreciation towards the introduction of Luis Suarez and Jamie Carragher.

 

Jordan Henderson also made his entry for Joe Allen and within seconds he made it 2-0 for Liverpool after finishing off a move involving good work from Raheem Sterling.

 

Henderson almost scored his second goal moments later but he shot straight at the keeper. Jose Enrique was thwarted by the keeper in the next attack after finding space in the box.

 

With 15 minutes remaining when the Kop saluted a former favourite when Robbie Fowler was introduced, and the crowd was on its feet when Gerrard slipped the ball through to Fowler but his quick strike was deflected wide for a corner.

 

Then with 6 minutes remaining Steven Gerrard was replaced by Jay Spearing to a standing ovation as he left the field and end an emotional day for the Liverpool skipper.

 

The match finished 2-0 in another impressive performance for Liverpool, but the day was all about Steven Gerrard.

 

Summary

 

The Liverpool supporters paid their respects with a tremendous turn out at Anfield for Steven Gerrard for his testimonial. But Liverpool treated the match seriously as they showed great energy and commitment from the start as Olympiacos were pegged back for most of the game. Rodgers started the match with eleven players that will probably start the match against Stoke and he gave them an hour before making the expected substitutions. Aspas looked lively up front and Sterling is showing great confidence in his play that lacked at times last season. Joe Allen was very impressive as he starred in an attacking midfield role and should have scored a hat-trick in the first half, but it was good to see him score and get into forward positions. Lucas is looking back to his best as he thwarted countless Olympiacos attacks. Great finish by Henderson after just coming on and he could be an important player for Liverpool this season as he looks more confident. Overall it was a good performance by the team and a special day for a special player Steven Gerrard.

 

 

 

 

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Liverpool 1-0 QPR Match Report

20 May

Liverpool 1-0 QPR Match Report

 

The day was all about Jamie Carragher as he made his last appearance in a Red shirt, the Liverpool defender made his 737th appearance for the club in an emotional day at Anfield against relegated QPR. Brazillian Philippe Coutinho scored the only goal of the game, and it was fitting that it was in the 23rd minute of the match, the number that Jamie Carragher wears on his Liverpool shirt.

 

The Team

 

Brendan Rodgers changed things around for Liverpool’s final game of the season, with Reina starting in goal, and Glen Johnson and Enrique were the full backs, with Captain Jamie Carragher partnering Martin Skrtel in the centre of defence. Downing, Lucas, Henderson and 17 year old Jordan Ibe made his debut, with Coutinho supporting Sturridge in attack.

 

The Match

 

After all the tributes to Jamie Carragher prior to kick-off Liverpool started the match on the offensive and the hosts should have been in the lead in the first couple of minutes when Coutinho headed a Downing corner towards goal, but Harriman cleared the effort off the line, although replays suggested the ball had crossed the line.

 

Coutinho was showing the sort of form that has already made him a favourite of the Kop as he almost scored direct from a corner before having a shot blocked by Shaun Derry.

 

Coutinho gave Liverpool the lead in the 23rd minute when he smashed a low shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner after being set-up by debut boy Ibe.

 

When QPR did mount a rare attack it was usually involving Remy, who almost won a penalty after dancing his way into the box before clashing with Lucas. Remy then missed a great chance from close range when he failed to convert Traore’s cross.

 

QPR continued to defend and sit deep in the second half as Liverpool mounted wave after wave of attack. Glen Johnson saw a shot deflected off Derry but Green managed to push it around the post. Then Sturridge’s volley hit Traore and Downing fired into the side-netting as Liverpool looked for a second goal.

 

Then the man of the moment Carragher hit a superb shot from 25 yards which crashed of the post with Green beaten as the crowd wished for a Carragher goal.

 

The latter stages of the match had a testimonial feel to it as Carragher was substituted with minutes to go to a standing ovation from a packed Anfield.

 

Summary

 

The last game of the season, but it was really a Jamie Carragher testimonial as Anfield paid its respects to a Liverpool Legend. It was brilliant to see Jordan Ibe make his debut and he looks to have a bright future as he set-up Coutinho with the only goal of the game. Liverpool should have scored more against an ultra-defensive QPR side, but it was good to see Liverpool finish off the season with a win and fitting that Jamie Carragher’s last match was another clean sheet for Liverpool.

 

 

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Anfield Legend

18 May

 

Anfield Legend

Legend is a word that is used far too often these days to describe footballers, but Jamie Carragher deserves to be described as one. Carragher is a one club man, which is very rare in modern day football and he has played over 700 games for Liverpool making him second only to Ian Callaghan in most appearances for the club.

Carragher is a product of Liverpool’s Academy and gained early success with the club when he won the FA Youth Cup in 1996. He made his professional debut in the 1996-97 season and became a regular the following season. Carragher was used in a variety of positions in his early days, mostly at full back. But former manager Rafa Benitez preferred him as a centre back and partnered him alongside former Kop favourite Sami Hyypia and Carragher became one of the best centre backs in Europe.

Jamie Carragher has collected many trophies in his time at Liverpool, winning the League Cup 3 times, the FA Community Shield twice, the UEFA Super Cup twice, the FA Cup twice, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

Carragher’s biggest regret was not being able to win the Premiership with Liverpool, but you can’t have everything he has done not too badly as far as medal collecting goes. He was a key member in Liverpool’s remarkable 2001 treble winning season and his performance in Istanbul will be talked about for ever by Liverpool supporters as he put his body on the line time after time to keep the Italians out even though his body was in agony.

Carragher’s ability was appreciated at international level, 38 times he appeared for England. But he should have had more caps, but his versatility was his downfall as he was used in a variety of positions with England instead of his best position at centre back.

Carragher gave 110% in every game no matter what the score was and he was an example to everyone in his team. He not only was a tremendous defender and reader of the game, but his organisational skills were vital to Liverpool’s defence with his constant shouting and instructing to his colleagues in defence. Earlier this season Carragher had to watch most matches from the bench as Skrtel and Agger were the preferred partnership in defence as Carragher’s age became a factor. But Brendan Rodgers noticed that Liverpool’s defence needed a leader and communicator at the back as Liverpool were conceding too many goals and he brought Carragher back into the side and Liverpool have never looked backed in a great run of form in the latter part of the season as Liverpool’s defence became one of the meanest in the league, thanks to Carragher.

It is amazing how many times Carragher has been written off in recent years, experts have said he is getting too slow to play at the highest level, but Carragher just kept proving everyone wrong and no more than in this season when for the last 18 months or so, he has been used sparingly. But since his comeback into the team he has been outstanding and it is great to see him retire at the top and as a regular in the team.

Jamie Carragher is appreciated by the Liverpool supporters in song with the title “We All Dream Of A Team Of Carraghers” and now Liverpool will have a gaping hole in their defence trying to replace such a great defender like Carragher will not be an easy task for Brendan Rodgers, and as Steven Gerrard said recently that he wouldn’t like Brendan Rodgers’ job of replacing the great man.

Jamie Carragher will be forever known as a Liverpool Legend and he will never walk alone.

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Liverpool 0-0 Everton Match Report

5 May

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Liverpool 0-0 Everton Match Report

 

Liverpool and Everton cancelled out each other in a rather forgettable 220th Merseyside derby at Anfield. Chances were few and far between as Everton looked to stay above their neighbours in the league and finish above them for the second season in a row for the first time since 1937. Everton rarely threatened to win at Anfield for the first time in 14 years, although Everton had a goal disallowed when Distin headed past Reina in the second half. Liverpool’s best chances came from Sturridge and Gerrard but Liverpool had to settle for a point.

 

The Team

 

Brendan Rodgers kept the same team that destroyed Newcastle last weekend with Reina once again keeping goal with a protection of Johnson, Agger, Carragher and Enrique the defence in front of him. Coutinho, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson and Downing completed the midfield with Daniel Sturridge playing as the lone striker in attack with Suarez serving the second match of his 10 match ban.

 

The Match

 

Liverpool showed Everton appreciation of the support they’ve given the Hillsborough families over the years prior to kick-off when the Kop held up a mosaic that read “Thanks”.

 

Jamie Carragher was making his last appearance in a Merseyside derby his 30th in total and he would hope to make his last a win.

 

Henderson’s raking ball to Sturridge followed by a similar pass by Gerrard showed Liverpool’s intent on utilising Sturridge’s pace. Gerrard looked really up for this derby match as he crashed into challenges, one of which resulted in him moving gingerly for a few minutes after clashing with Osman.

 

Everton settled well and dominated possession and Fellaini almost scored but his stabbed effort from a Baines’ free-kick just missed the far post.

 

Chances in the first half were at a premium but Gerrard saw a goal-bound effort superbly blocked by Jagielka before the Liverpool Captain curled a free-kick just wide. Then Jagielka produced a tremendous goal-saving tackle on Coutinho as the Brazilian was just about to pull the trigger.

 

The second half started with Liverpool looking more threatening as Coutinho released Sturridge behind the Everton defence, but the striker could not get round Tim Howard in a one-on-one situation before eventually firing into the side-netting.

 

Distin thought he had given the visitors the lead just before the hour mark when he headed a Baines’ corner past Reina, but his effort was disallowed.

 

Coutinho then got his finish all wrong when he tried a delicate finish before Gerrard rounded Howard only to be denied by Distin’s goalline clearance.

 

But the match petered out in the latter stages as Everton looked happy with the draw and Liverpool ran out of ideas.

 

Summary

 

A very disappointing derby with few chances and Liverpool never created enough chances against a very organised Everton defence. Steven Gerrard was superb driving his team on but disappointingly not enough of his team-mates were in the same mood. Everton had the best of the first half but Jagielka made two superb blocks to deny Liverpool. Liverpool were better in the second half but Everton were disappointing in the way they settled for a draw in the second half as they tried to time waste at every opportunity. Everton must feel aggrieved that Distin’s effort was ruled out because there looked little wrong with the goal. Sturridge was poor today and looked like he didn’t like the physical treatment from the Everton defence. This derby won’t live long in the memory.

 

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