Jamie Carragher's 10 Greatest Moments at Liverpool Football Club
Liverpool’s Tuesday announcement of the Kolo Toure signing was indicative of the defensive situation at Anfield: In light of Jamie Carragher’s retirement, an experienced central defender was one of the priorities this summer.
In this regard, Liverpool, just like they did with Daniel Sturridge back in January, have done their business quickly. Toure’s experience, and the fact that he arrives on a free transfer, means that Carragher’s original role for the season—until Martin Skrtel dropped dramatically in form—now has a replacement.
Carragher’s pedigree, legendary status and dressing room presence, however, will ensure that his absence will still be felt profoundly inside the halls of both Anfield and the Melwood Training Ground.
The former Liverpool vice-captain will now try his hand at punditry next season after hanging his boots on the back of an illustrious and successful career.
Before we look forward to his sharp and quick-witted (if hard to understand!) analysis on Sky Sports, let’s take a look back at Jamie Carragher’s 10 greatest moments at Liverpool Football Club, to celebrate the career of one of those rarities in football these days—a true one-club man.
January 8, 1997: First-Team Debut
By now, we all know that Jamie Carragher grew up idolizing Liverpool’s archrivals as an Everton fan.
Still, he joined the Liverpool youth academy in 1990, winning the 1996 FA Youth Cup alongside future Anfield star Michael Owen and signing his first professional contract in October 1996.
In January 1997, then-manager Roy Evans gave Carragher his first-team debut in a League Cup semifinal against Middlesbrough, a match that Liverpool ultimately lost 1-2.
Carragher soon became a fixture in the first-team squad.
January 18, 1997: First Goal
But not before he scored his first goal for the Reds.
Carragher isn’t known for his goal-scoring prowess—his own-goal record is higher—but in just his third appearance for Liverpool, and on his first ever start, he scored his first goal for the club.
A fine header in front of the Kop against Aston Villa just a couple of weeks after his first-team debut capped a memorable month for the young defender.
He would only go on to score three more league goals in his entire 17-year career with Liverpool.
May 16, 2001: UEFA Cup Win Secures Treble
After an underwhelming few years, Liverpool roared back into silverware contention in the 2000-2001 season under Gerard Houllier.
By now an important utility man in the side, Carragher won his first senior honors in Liverpool red when they completed a unique FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup treble within just a few months.
The 2001 UEFA Cup win was memorable in itself, with a last-gasp own goal sealing a dramatic and thrilling victory for Liverpool in extra time over Spanish club Alaves.
That it completed the treble for Liverpool—and for Carragher—meant that it secured an important place in the Reds pantheon.
June 16, 2004: Rafael Benitez Moves Carragher into Center of Defence
Ultimately, though, Gerard Houllier was replaced by Rafael Benitez in June 2004, as Liverpool looked to improve on their top-four finishes in the Premier League.
Benitez’s arrival had a profound impact on Carragher, not least because he moved the versatile defender into the center of defence.
The switch turned Carragher into one of the best central defenders in Europe, as he struck up a partnership with Sami Hyypia that was as fearsome as it was reliable.
Carragher also matured under Benitez’s leadership, turning into an important on-field organizer who could vocally support his teammates from the back.
May 25, 2005: Legendary Champions League Win in Istanbul
We all know the story.
May 25, 2005. Champions League final in Istanbul. AC Milan roar into a 3-0 lead. Liverpool make up the three-goal deficit in six frantic second-half minutes. Jerzy Dudek makes a belief-defying double save from Andriy Shevchenko. Shevchenko misses the all-important penalty.
One of the enduring images from Liverpool’s legendary night in Turkey was Jamie Carragher suffering from cramps but still soldiering on to fulfill his defensive duties.
As Carragher himself said a few weeks ago:
“Istanbul, nothing will beat that—the Champions League final. There’s no point going over the game; I think we all know what happened that night. It’s difficult to ever top that.”—via BBC Sport.
August 26, 2005: First and Only Trophy as Captain
Of course, the Champions League qualified Liverpool for the UEFA Super Cup, which pitted the Reds against Russian side CSKA Moscow in Monaco’s Stade Louis II in August 2005.
Daniel Carvalho opened the scoring for the Russians, and it took the second-half introduction of Djibril Cisse to turn the game around. Cisse scored just minutes after coming on to take the game into extra time.
A second Cisse goal, and another from Luis Garcia, secured an extra-time victory for Rafa Benitez’s men.
With regular captain Steven Gerrard out through injury, Carragher took the armband and lifted the Super Cup, his first—and ultimately only—trophy as Liverpool captain.
September 4, 2010: Testimonial Against Everton
In the following years, Carragher established himself as one of the best defenders in Europe, and with his trademark no-nonsense brand of defending and commitment to the Reds cause, duly came to be recognized as a Liverpool legend.
His achievements and status at Liverpool led to the club offering him a testimonial match in September 2010, to celebrate his career.
His opponents were always going to be his boyhood club Everton, and in a match featuring plenty of former teammates such as Danny Murphy, Steve Finnan and Michael Owen, Carragher was afforded the tribute and reception that he deserved.
He also completed a boyhood dream to score for Everton as he cheekily snatched a penalty awarded to the visitors, before coming off to rapturous applause.
May 9, 2011: Goes Second in All-Time Appearance List
Soon, it became apparent that Carragher had designs on gatecrashing the Liverpool all-time appearance list, headed by Ian Callaghan on 857.
In a May 2011 match at Fulham’s Craven Cottage, Carragher made his 666th appearance for Liverpool, becoming the club’s second highest appearance maker.
A Maxi Rodriguez hat trick, and one goal apiece for Dirk Kuyt and Luis Suarez, ensured that the Reds went home with all three points after an exciting 5-2 away win.
Incidentally, Carragher reached this fine milestone while playing for another club legend, Kenny Dalglish.
February 26, 2012: League Cup Win at Wembley
It wasn’t the greatest and easiest of triumphs, but the penalty shootout win against Cardiff City in the 2012 League Cup final was a trophy all the same, and a trophy won at Wembley.
The thrilling win capped a first piece of silverware for the Reds after a few barren years, and Carragher duly completed one of his boyhood dreams to play at Wembley for Liverpool.
We’ll let him say the rest:
“It was a dream of mine to play at Wembley for Liverpool. I’d been there as a kid, but to actually play there was great…It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”—via LFC.com
May 19, 2013: Emotional Farewell
After announcing his retirement in February 2013, Jamie Carragher had three months of professional football to look forward to, and his final game for Liverpool—his 737th—came at home against relegated QPR.
It was a match that showcased the end of a glorious era, as Carragher almost signed off in style with a 30-yard screamer that hit the post, but also a promising future for the club, as Jordon Ibe made an encouraging full debut at Anfield, and new signing Philippe Coutinho scored the winning goal.
In the 87th minute, Carragher was substituted to a standing ovation for Sebastian Coates, marking an end to an illustrious career at Liverpool Football Club.
He didn’t manage to overtake Callaghan in the all-time appearances list in the end, but he bows out a club legend.