With Steven Gerrard rarely speaking nowadays in public, it’s been left to Jamie Carragher to show the supporters how much the Liverpool players want to win things.
Liverpool’s bid for silverware was hit earlier in the season by Chelsea in the Carling Cup final. Now Liverpool are looking to return the compliment in the Champions Leage, starting with tomorrow’s first leg at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately for Carragher though, his two bookings earlier in the season mean that he’s one booking away from a ban. He joins Steve Finnan, Xabi Alonso and Stephen Warnock in that respect.
Jamie doesn’t feel he should play his game any differently though, saying, “If it’s going to happen, it’s got to be for something unavoidable like a tackle you knew you had to make, but mistimed. I’m sure if Chelsea have a couple of players in the same situation they’ll still be playing their normal game, and we’ll be the same. In these situations, there’s no point worrying. I remember what happened to Roy Keane a few years ago when he put himself on the line for his team and missed the final. We’ve all got to think that way. The most important thing is winning the games and reaching the final. If that happens and one of us is unlucky, there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Meanwhile England boss Sven Goran Eriksson has joined the growing band of admirers of Carragher. Despite missing out on even a nomination for the PFA awards last weekend, Carragher is gaining more and more recognition for his attitude. Eriksson spoke to Sky Sports, saying, “Jamie is a better player today than he was one or two years ago that’s for sure. I always hoped he would play central defender because I always thought that was his best position.” Gerrard Houllier always preferred to play Carragher at full-back, but Benitez put him into the centre of defence where he’s stayed all season. Eriksson continued: “He’s been improving, getting better and better weekend after weekend, and I think one reason is the Champions League of course. He was maybe the best on the pitch against Juventus.”
Carragher will have his work cut out tomorrow night against Chelsea, but it’s worth noting that although Chelsea have won all three previous encounters this season, all have been by a margin of just one goal. In fact apart from a 2-0 defeat by Birmingham, all of Liverpool’s league defeats this season have been by just one goal.