Jamie Carragher: The Liverpool Defender's 5 Most Memorable Games for the Reds
Jamie Carragher has announced he is retiring from football at the end of the current season (via Liverpool Official). A great shame for the club whom he has represented at professional level since 1996, and a great shame for the fans who will miss this highly revered player, who has been crucial to the defensive back line at Anfield for over 16 years.
In those 16 years, Carragher has played 496 League games, 75 Cup matches and made 137 European appearances for Liverpool (via Soccerbase). That is a lot of games, and he is second only to Ian Callaghan for the all-time appearance record for the Reds (via Liverpool Official).
But which of Carragher's games are the most memorable? Here are five that the defender will be most renowned for: the good, the bad and the ugly.
5. League vs. Aston Villa, 1997
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In 1997, Jamie Carragher scored his first ever goal for Liverpool, against Aston Villa in front of the Kop (via Soccerbase).
He probably thought this would be the first of many in his career, but as it turns out, he had more of a knack for putting the ball into his own net (via The Guardian).
Still, 12 months after his debut for Liverpool, Carragher's powerful header announced him onto the League stage, and although he only managed three other goals in his career, he will undoubtedly remember this goal most fondly, as will the 12,000 fans in the Kop at the time.
4. FA Cup vs. Arsenal, 2002
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Despite being organized, commanding and in control defensively, Carragher's temper can something reach boiling point during feisty and hotly contested games.
And the FA Cup tie with Arsenal in 2002 was one of those matches.
After a Gunner supporter threw a coin at the Liverpool man, Jamie Carragher's heart ruled over his head, as his piked it up, and flung it back into the crowd. An action which was criticized by the FA, the police and then-assistant manager Phil Thompson (via Daily Mail):
"You cannot have these instances that are going on up and down the country... But neither can Jamie do what he did. Two wrongs do not make a right, and I have told him so"
Carragher received a red card, a ban, a fine and a police warning for the incident, but escaped criminal charges after a public apology (via Newsround). I wonder what happened to the guy who initially started "coin-gate" at Highbury.
3. Testimonial vs. Everton XI, 2010
After such a gloomy slide, it must only be appropriate to recall a heart-warming story: a tale of a boyhood blue who spent his footballing life in red.
Fans of both Everton and Liverpool respect this man, both for his allegiance to the club he has supported since he was a child, and the club he has played for since 1990. A rare occurrence on Merseyside.
And it was testament to the man, when his club testimonial brought in a crowd of 35,682 to watch Carragher play alongside Liverpool players of old such as Michael Owen and Emile Heskey, and current teammates such as Steven Gerrard (via Liverpool Echo).
And it was even more testament to referee Mark Halsey when he awarded an Everton penalty as the Ghost of Anfield knocked over James Vaughan.
And this was the chance Jamie Carragher has been waiting for all his life, a chance to score for Everton. And he enjoyed every minute of it.
2. League vs. Manchester United, 1999
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And from the heart-warming, to the heart-sinking. As a young, fresh-faced Liverpudlian, Jamie Carragher scored two own-goals in the 3-2 defeat to Manchester United in 1999.
Jamie has become a regular in the first team the season beforehand, and was already showing his organization and defensive qualities before the turn of the new millennium. But this match against rivals United did not quite go to plan (via BBC).
The first own-goal was an unstoppable header as he tried to deflect Ryan Giggs' cross away from his net, but unfortunately, he only found the back of it.
The second own-goal was to be United's third, as Carragher once more found himself all-ends-up in the box, and bundled a David Beckham free kick past his own keeper once more.
Not Jamie's greatest moment, but his strength of character shone through after that game, as did his knack of putting the ball into his own net (via The Guardian).
1. Champions League vs. AC Milan, 2005
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Let's face it, any player in that 2005 Liverpool team would probably consider the Champions League Final against AC Milan as their greatest game ever, but for Jamie Carragher, he was pivotal to the win.
After the six minutes of madness where Liverpool clawed back a 3-0 deficit, they spent the last half hour on the back foot. And Carragher made some incredible clearances to keep Rafa Benitez's men in the match (via BBC).
Match-saving tackles such as that from the feet of Kaka and off the toes of Andrei Shevchenko during normal time, and his clearances despite suffering from cramp during extra-time, ensured Jamie's name would be etched into the Liverpool Hall of Fame at some point.
His performance in this game certainly was one which will stay in the memories of Liverpool fans forever. And of the 723 games he played in the red shirt? This has to be his most memorable of all time.