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Despite Criticism, Carragher Continues to Battle for Liverpool

0607carrapointWith Liverpool preparing to play Fulham at Craven Cottage in a matter of hours, injury problems continue to plague the the Anfield club. Captain and perennial talisman Steven Gerrard will not play due to his nagging groin injury, while fullback Glen Johnson will miss action because of a thigh strain. Additionally, new signing Alberto Aquilani will not be able to build upon his mid-week Carling Cup debut against Arsenal due to illness. Fortunately for Liverpool the £20 million summer signing has not contracted swine flu, but this fact does not improve matters for a club that has been hit hard by injuries and absences.

Despite Liverpool’s massive 2-0 victory over Manchester United one week ago, the Merseyside club continues to battle tumult and adversity in this early Premier League campaign. The Reds have lost five of their last six matches, including Wednesday’s 2-1 exit from the Carling Cup at the hands of Arsenal’s young Gunners. Embattled manager Raphael Benitez continues to put on a brave face, but that task must be becoming increasingly difficult for a man who longs for the league title and is six points adrift of first-place Chelsea. The club’s boardroom struggles are well documented, and the financial noose has been tight ever since George Gillette and Tom Hicks took control at Anfield.

Even with all of these revolving problems, one player has continued to embody the the emotion and core values of Liverpool Football Club: Jamie Carragher. The 31 year-old Bootle native has come under media fire in the last two years, as the defensive stalwart has become a scapegoat for everything from Benitez’s tactics to the lack of progress on the Stanley Park stadium project. Carragher is often his own worst critic when it comes to his form, but his performance against the reining Premier League champions last weekend was nothing short of stunning. To many this notion will seem delayed, but I felt it necessary to point out the obvious because so few are giving credit where credit is due.

His youth may have passed him by and other players certainly posses greater tactical ability, but Carragher is in no short supply of effort and grit. His bone-jarring tackle on Michael Carrick last Sunday underlined this point, as Carra sent the former Tottenham midfielder face-first into the Anfield turf with a clean challenge in the area. Pundits were quick to point out Fernando Torres’ efforts on the day (rightfully so), and the deft touches of Yossi Benayoun. David Pleat certainly chimed in on the Sky broadcast when Carragher proved his metal, but the defender literally threw his body into boot and ball in the dying stages of the match to ensure Liverpool’s emphatic victory.

Carra: never afraid of a tackle

Carra: never afraid of a tackle

Carragher has been accused of suffering a dip in form over the last two campaigns, but make no mistake – he is the beating heart of Liverpool. Gerrard and Torres may provide the offensive threat, but Carragher’s steady play on the backline alongside Martin Skrtel is the spine of this club. Many fans will argue that Carra has become too inconsistent, citing the opening match of this season against Spurs as evidence of the centerback’s fall from grace. All premier players suffer poor runs of form, just look at Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. While Carragher undeniably has more playing days behind him than in front at this stage in his career, he is still more than handy in the final third. It will take this continued presence to give Liverpool three vital points against Fulham today, and if the Reds are to truly get their title challenge on track number 23 will play a large role.

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  1. Gaz

    November 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Surely you mean that Carragher is a red cardED d-bag. The red cardING d-bag is the ref. 🙂

    We’ll still make the Champion’s League – don’t be silly.

    Remember we’ve won it five times (and been the runner-up a few times). How many times have you won it (none… runner-up once, I believe). 🙂

    I stopped watching after the second goal – I saw it all coming as soon as they took Torres off. Fulham seemed to think, “we don’t have to worry about that side of the pitch anymore”.

    Poor, poor, poor, poor.

    The overall point of the article, I agree with. He makes mistakes and has bad form but he’s truly full of heart for the Scouse side. You won’t find many footballers around that love the city and the club enough to risk life and limb like he is willing to do.

  2. California_Gooner

    October 31, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    ha ha ha Red Carding D-bag enjoy not playing in Champions league next season ….

  3. Raatzie

    October 31, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Stay tuned for my equally well-timed article “Robin van Persie Can’t Score Worth a S–t.”

  4. nothap'n

    October 31, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Rafa was quick as hell to sub out Torres, then Benayoun, then Kuyt from an already weakened squad (by his making).

    He already had no Gerrard, Aquilani, Skrtel, Aurelio, Riera, and Johnson…and I bet half of them could have played but he kept them about because of the Champions League.

    Instead he underestimated Fulham at Craven Cottage, started the slowest central defense in history outside of a beer league with Carragher and Kyrgiakos, and actually had Voronin featured up front with Torres.

    Every decision looked like Rafa wanted to be fired at this point. and f*uck him if they have a full strength squad for Wednesday and he is shitting off the league for that shit.

  5. Ivan

    October 31, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Bad timing for this article. Carra is not in a bad run of form, like Rio and Vidic, he simply isn’t good enough to play for Liverpool(alongside 8 other Liverpool players who shamed the red jersey today). Rafa out! This is getting ridiculous!

  6. Geoff

    October 31, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Very funny,

    Zamora should have got a penalty from him before he got sent off as well!

  7. lol

    October 31, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Title should be “Despite Criticism, Carragher Continues to Get Red Cards for Liverpool”

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