It’s been an incredibly frustrating weekend for Liverpool fans. Firstly, we lose an incredibly controversial game against Stoke and then both City and United go on to grab another handful of goals to strengthen their respective positions as joint leaders. United now have 18 goals, whilst City have scored 15. Meanwhile, the Reds have managed just 6. With the chances we had against both Bolton and Stoke on Saturday though, we could’ve been up there near the top and with a much more impressive goal difference having had around 35 shots at goal over the course of both games combined.
But that’s all about ifs and buts and working out how best to get the ball in the net is something of a work in progress for what is essentially a new team. What we have seen in every game from them so far is improvements, particularly going forward; it will come. However, we can begin to make changes at the opposite end of the pitch that will bring immediate benefits and that means the phasing out of Jamie Carragher. There will be those amongst you reading this that will assume – as people like to do – that this is a knee-jerk reaction to Carragher’s poor decision making for the penalty Stoke won on Saturday.
This is an opinion I’ve held for at least 18 months though and I’ve already written on the subject several times in the past couple of years but, for me, Saturday was the final straw: a good performance made meaningless by an all too expected mistake from Jamie. That’s not to say we would’ve won (or, even drawn) the game if not for his error but we would’ve had a far greater chance of continuing with our game-plan which, at that point, was clearly working.
Against Bolton a few weeks ago Carragher’s poor judgement again tarnished what should’ve been a superb 3-nil win. Instead, the end of the match left a particularly sour taste after Carragher allowed Bolton to snatch a totally undeserved late goal. That means that 2 of the 3 league goals we’ve conceded so far this season are down to Carragher. The overriding theme of both is that he can be turned far too easily; he has always been slow and slightly cumbersome but with age, he has slowed even more and it is now starting to negatively affect our performances.
While I admire his tenacity and his ability to put in an extra 15% when other players have already switched off (CL Final 2005 a prime example), this is no longer enough to warrant him a place in the team. When Sami Hyypia was starting to show signs of winding down and his body was no longer able to keep up with his brain, he was unceremoniously stuck on the bench and Agger stepped up. Now, I think it’s time for Carragher to take his place on the bench and allow Skrtel and Agger an opportunity to form a partnership, with Coates also given a chance to stake his claim because if you build something on crumbling foundations it’s always going to fall down, as we found against Stoke on Saturday when, after a strong start all of our hard work and preparation was undone by a characteristic mistake from the stand-in captain.
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