Jamie Carragher played his last game for Liverpool on the 19 May 2013, the 737th of a career, where he only pulled on the red of Liverpool or the white of England.
Such a figure leaves him second in the club’s all time appearance list, and is all the more noteworthy after a difficult season last year, as well as a challenging start to this season where he was distinctly third choice in the centre of defence.
However, midway through the season Carragher regained his place in the team, ousting Martin Skrtel, and enjoyed somewhat of an Indian Summer to his Liverpool career.
Such was his mid to late season form that manager Brendan Rodgers had been intending to talk him out of his decision to retire in the summer, telling Sky Sport’s Goals on Sunday in April: "He's been fantastic and I do [believe he could play next season].
"Him and I will sit down between now and the end of the season anyway and we'll see where it goes”.
After Carragher’s final game against QPR, his manager, having come to terms that he’d have to find a replacement admitted replacing him “won’t be easy”.
Recently reports have linked Liverpool to Manchester City’s Kolo Toure, indicating that he is the man Rodgers has settled on to replace his stalwart defender. With the wages that Toure is likely to command, it's unlikely that another defender will be brought in alongside the Ivorian to battle with him and Skrtel for a place alongside Daniel Agger.
32-year-old Toure, who in the past two years, has failed to make more than 20 appearances each campaign, seems to be somewhat of a gamble for Rodgers. There is no doubting that he has been a top class defender during his career, but arguably this has not been the case since his first season at City, some four years ago, and he has failed to replicate that since his six month drugs ban in 2011.
Toure’s age, as well as his recent struggle for form and game-time, mean that he is at best a short term solution for Liverpool. But is he even that? Wouldn’t it be best to buy a genuine defender, with the possibility to blossom further into one of the league’s best.
£10 million will buy most clubs a quality centre-half in his mid twenties with room to develop. Look at Tottenham’s purchase of Jan Vertonghen last summer. Liverpool may be better off considering players such as Vertonghen’s former Ajax and Belgium teammate Toby Alderweireld. In the end though, the inevitable difficulty of replacing him will only highlight the importance Carragher held for Liverpool football club.
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