Football

Carragher's race is run

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Carragher has hinted this season could be his last. (©GettyImages)
Carragher has hinted this season could be his last. (©GettyImages).

When the Liverpool stars of the mid to late 90s, the likes of Steve McManaman, Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler were discussing their beloved sport of horse-racing, Jamie Carragher can't have listened particularly intently.

Had the 34-year-old paid any sort of intention to his peers' discussions he will have been handed an insight into how to prevent a champion thoroughbred turning in an old nag. Given Carragher's recent performances, it's advice he could have done with paying attention too.

Robin van Persie has made a habit of dragging Arsenal out from a hole this season, but he would have expected a sterner challenge on Saturday lunchtime, as Carragher gave the Dutchman the freedom of the penalty area to smuggle three points away from the Reds.

To criticise Carragher would do a disservice to the quality of service Van Persie was provided virtue of Bacary Sagna's superb cross and Alex Song's lofty pass, but the experience of the man should have told in those pressure situations.

Van Persie's first saw Carragher forget the first principal of defender; stay goal side. Despite initially not reacting to Martin Skrtel's directive to watch the Premier League's top scorer, Carragher found himself with ample time to get the correct side of Van Persie, something he neglected to do. He was held off, and Arsenal duly levelled.

The second goal saw further problems. Again, Van Persie's reputation as the divisions' premier marksman appeared to pass Carragher by, giving his north London opponent ample space, which once the brilliant Song had played him in, he used to deadly effect.

The match was further proof that Carragher is allowing his Liverpool career to fizzle out to the detriment of his club, rather than stepping aside to hand valuable experience to the club's extensive youth system. If he's the admirable individual we're all led to believe, he'd have done the honest thing by now.

Manchester United have retained two old heads in their squad and while they may succeed in the short-term, a few years on without players with valuable experience in big games, they're likely to suffer. Liverpool are at risk of doing the same thing if Carragher isn't quickly shown the door.

With Daniel Agger out for a further three weeks, after picking up a rib injury in last weekend's Carling Cup win over Cardiff City, Carragher is likely to continue as stand in, an inclusion that is a genuine danger to the club's hopes of finishing in the fourth Champions League spot.

Furthermore, those incidents against the Gunners were a microcosm of Carragher's entire career in professional football, which has seen the very best in the Premier League dominate the former England international.

Thierry Henry and Didier Drogba, two that granted few defenders got to grips with, toiled with Carragher at times during his career, ruining his reputation as the country's best centre-back.

But if Carragher continues to kid himself in a Liverpool shirt, and refuses to step down upon the season's climax, it's his integrity that's in serious jeopardy.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Jamie Carragher
Liverpool
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