Liverpool have for so long been propped up by the sheer determination, ability and dedication of their two homegrown star players, Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard. With the announcement of Carragher's imminent retirement come the end of the season, Reds fans and Liverpool management alike have been scouring the football world for a suitable replacement.
Jamie Carragher, 35, has reminded Liverpool that hanging up one's boots is a natural part of football that no one is exempt from. Steven Gerrard—Liverpool's talismanic captain who has played every minute of Premier League football this season and carried the Reds since receiving the captaincy just under a decade ago—is also coming close to retirement.
It may be five or six years down the line, but Liverpool must look to players that can reproduce the best of Gerrard as well as Carragher. Here are current Liverpool players that could, hypothetically, replace the best of the Kop legends.
It is hard not to notice the leadership that both Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher show week in and week out. As captain and vice-captain, the pair take it upon themselves to position, encourage and criticise their teammates in order to get the very best from them on match day.
It's a trait that can't be trained and thus, it is one of the hardest to replace.
Who can be the organiser of defence, the vocal presence in the side? Liverpool have a few candidates. The talented and much physically improved fan favourite, Daniel Agger; the Liverpool born and bred centre-back, Martin Kelly; or, though recently faded, the Slovakian Martin Skrtel.
For me, these are the three with the best chance of replacing Carragher as leader of the defence. Looking at experience, the candidate with the best chance of success is Denmark captain, Daniel Agger. A fan favourite already, the Dane is loyal, vocal and is as equally talented as Carragher in his prime.
Gerrard is equally difficult. Allen, Henderson, Shelvey and Coady all have shouts to become the next Kop legend, but the honour for me goes to Luis Suarez—who is Liverpool's most influential player at the moment. Suarez has recently captained Liverpool in the FA Cup, as well as Uruguay in the Olympics.
Class, check. Dedication (so far), check. Leadership, check.
Jamie Carragher possesses the typical scouse accent that has for so long baffled journalists in conferences. It is no secret that half of the Liverpool side have no idea what Carra is saying, but politely nod instead of guessing an appropriate reply. So with Carragher leaving the side, who can baffle journalists using their voice alone?
Enrique and Suso.
Their Spanish accent is not only hilarious, but their grasp of the English language is poor at best. Or at least it sounds that way.
Both talented, but hard to understand.
Steven Gerrard can work wonders with a football. He can find the back of the net from 40 yards away, pass the ball 80 yards and run like no tomorrow all in one football match. There's not many that can do it as naturally as Gerrard and so replacing those particular traits will take more than one player.
The accurate and carefully chosen passing can be replicated by Joe Allen in my opinion. In the early stages of the season, he demonstrated a passing ability on par with the Liverpool skipper, and as Allen develops into his late 20s, his passing ability and composure will only ameliorate.
On to the shooting, and to be clear from the offset, I don't think anyone can match Gerrard's shooting. But who could come close? Suarez? Not enough power nor accuracy. Lucas, Allen, Henderson? None look even close to how Gerrard did in his youth, shooting from distance at will.
For me, the choice is a difficult and inconvenient one, but I would have to go with Shelvey, just because he looks confident with his ability from range.
No Liverpool side I can recall has lined up without a scouser in their midst. I doubt that will change, and for the history and tradition of the club's sake, I hope it doesn't. Effectively then, this slide will just tell you who I think the best homegrown player the club has is, at the moment.
Martin Kelly. Simple.
I think Kelly will be a regular in the future, and therefore, will ensure the scousers still have a place in the starting XI.
One can't adequately put into words how much the Kop idolise Carra or Stevie. For as long as I can remember, they've given everything into their beloved football club, and in return, the Anfield faithful have given everything they can back. The songs, the support, the supporters have given it.
But new crowd favourites are already emerging.
When Carra and Stevie retire, the Kop will look to others to idolise. When Carragher retires, it seems painfully obvious that Suarez will replace him completely, in terms of idolisation. When Gerrard retires, the problem is bigger.
Who will the Kop idolise in five years to a level close to Gerrard? I'd love to say Henderson, he's one of my favourite players. But I don't think he'll cut it to that level, week-in, week-out. Nor Shelvey. Possibly Allen.
But I'm going for Coutinho.
I mean, we already love him, and its been three games. He's quick, skilful and exciting. Just like Suarez was from the word go.
It's a premature shout, but here's hoping I'm right.
There's not much more to add. Gerrard and Carra will be sorely missed, and I hope more than the next man that they can be adequately replaced.
Thanks for reading, comment if you disagree.
You'll Never Walk Alone.