Liverpool’s vice captain, Jamie Carragher, says Liverpool can’t afford to start the season as slowly as they did last. He feels the Reds are capable of mounting a title challenge this time round if they can get the goals they need to win games and so get points in the bag from the off: “The way Manchester United and Chelsea started the last couple of seasons, we were out of the league after 10 games. We wouldn’t have said it at the time but, being honest, if they are getting eight or 10 points on you early on it’s difficult because they win virtually every week. The manager has created a solid team. The next step is to score the goals United and Chelsea do. We’ve spent a few quid to try and do that.”
Whether Rafa has had as much money for new players as he thought he was going to get is going to up for debate for some time, but Rafa has spent a decent amount this summer, helped in part by some decent fees received from sales. Carra is impressed with the new signings: “We have great confidence in the players the manager has brought in; they’ve looked very good in training. I’ve never known a squad as strong. Every position has two international players competing for it and nobody can rest on their laurels. You have to look after yourself and make sure you’re in the team.”
One of those sacrificed by Rafa was Luis Garcia, who now plays for Atlético Madrid, and Carra was sad when he left: “Luis did superbly for Liverpool. I sent him a message saying I was sad to see him go, but I feel we have a top manager and being ruthless is part of being a top manager. He got on great with Luis but he felt the time was right.”
Carra will be 30 next birthday and feels his chances of winning the league are limited. He’s enjoyed the success he’s had at Anfield, but wants to add that elusive league title to the list of honours he’s earned: “We’ve done well in the last seven or eight years, winning trophies, but the Premier League is the one we haven’t got hold of. It’s something we’re desperate for and me more than most because of my age – I’m 29 now and won’t have long left.” Carra’s new contract runs for four years and he’s determined to win the league during that time.
The defender is convinced that Chelsea are the team that have to be overtaken to win the league, rather than current holders Manchester United: “I still think the team who finish above Chelsea will win it. They are the ones you have to see as the yardstick, with Petr Cech and John Terry being back. United are the champions and a great side but Chelsea are really the team to beat if you want to win the league.”
Despite doubts about how much the new owners have given Rafa for his transfer kitty, there is no doubt at all that they plan to spend big on the new stadium. Plans were given to the council this week and revealed to the public; and most of those who have seen them have been impressed with the planned new home for the club. It’s expected to cost £300m to build and should be ready in time for the last season of Carra’s contract: “We have to thank the new owners for producing something like it and it’s inspiring for the players,” he said. “There is an incentive to make sure you are there when the new stadium opens. It’s three years away but in the back of my mind I still want to be at the club playing the last game at Anfield and the first game in the new place.”
Carra has also spoken of how well the pre-season preparations are going. Despite losing for the first time in pre-season – on penalties to Portsmouth – the trip has worked well from a team-bonding perspective: “Everything is going great,” said Carra. “We’ve had a lot of time away, obviously, but this has given everyone a chance to mix with the new lads. We’re sitting down at meal-times together and taking part in double training sessions so we’ve got to know them all a lot better than we would have done if we’d stayed back home.”
Carra likes his new teammates both for their on-field and off-field qualities: “They’re all good lads and great players. I’m sure they’ll have a big part to play next season. There’s always a feeling at this club that we can do something special and over the last few years we have done. Not many clubs have enjoyed the success we have recently and long may that continue. Of course, the Premiership is the one trophy that’s continued to elude us. Hopefully that will change this season but as long as we keep winning trophies, I’ll be happy.”
Jamie was mainly used as a full-back before Rafa came along and moved him to his best position. It’s strange to think back that Carra’s future was in doubt under Houllier, especially when the Frenchman signed Steve Finnan. In the end Finnan and Carra have become important members of one of the best defences in Europe, and Carra is delighted to see Finnan is about to sign a new deal: “For me I think he’s the best full-back in the country, not just at the moment but over the past couple of years. He’s been one of our most consistent players for a long time now and his new contract is well-deserved.”
2 thoughts on “Carra: We need goals from the off”
Carra is absolutely right-we need goals and we did not get any against (Premiership)Portsmouth in Hong Kong.
I guess I worry too much.
i think carra is right wee need 2 score goals right from the start of the season weve gt the players 2 do it so we should be scoring goals easily no excues c’mon the scousers
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