Liverpool 1-0 QPR – Carra’s Last Stand

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Jonathan Carroll

The season ended for Liverpool in a very low profile fashion against already relegated Queens Park Rangers. The last game of the season was also the last game ever for Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher. The Kop sang his praises throughout the game on Sunday and warmly applauded every Liverpool player on their lap around Anfield following the game.

The match itself was a run of the mill season ending performance for both teams. Fairly uneventful for the most part with Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho providing a bright spark. Coutinho has undoubtedly been the steal of the transfer window at eight and a half million pounds. More astute business like that over the summer could see Liverpool challenge for a Champions League spot.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Indeed it was Coutinho who won the game for Liverpool with a rasping shot low into the bottom left hand corner of Robert Greens goal. Astutely teed up by Jordan Ibe on his first tem debut, Coutinho made no mistake. Liverpool were in control of this game for long periods and never looked like relinquishing their grasp on the game. In fact Carragher almost scored in the second half as his 30 yard strike hit the post.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Carragher is a Liverpool legend and engrained his place among the greats of Liverpool football club with a dedication rarely seen in modern football. His never say die attitude and willingness to throw his body on the line for the cause endeared him to the Anfield faithful. Performances from Carragher such as his Istanbul one man show at the back spring to mind. Bent over from cramp after denying Andrei Shevchenko from close range is an image I will never forget as we hung on for penalties. Carrgher was never a skillful player but he made up for that in being good at the basics and his attitude of working hard to even the playing field against more skilled opponents. Thanks for the memories Carra.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Brendan Rodgers now enters the realm of having a full season under his belt. New signings are needed and quality ones at that. Top four is a must next season, as it has been every year the club have not qualified for the Champions League. Fenway Sports Group will be highly analyzed over the summer by the clubs supporters in the form of how much financial backing they give Rodgers. If it is sufficient, in the form of four or five quality players then Rodgers must deliver, if it is one or two players then Liverpool will once again face an uphill struggle to reclaim a place among Europe’s elite.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina
  • 02 Johnson
  • 03 Jose Enrique
  • 23 Carragher (Coates – 85′ )
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 10 Phillippe Coutinho (Suso – 74′ )
  • 14 Henderson Booked
  • 19 Downing
  • 21 Lucas
  • 44 Ibe (Borini – 64′ )
  • 15 Sturridge

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 16 Coates
  • 47 Wisdom
  • 35 Coady
  • 11 Assaidi
  • 29 Borini
  • 30 Suso

Queens Park Rangers

  • 01 Green
  • 03 Traore
  • 06 Hill Booked
  • 15 Onuoha
  • 27 Harryman
  • 04 Derry Booked
  • 07 Park Ji-sung (Hoilett – 80′ )
  • 29 Townsend Booked
  • 40 M’bia
  • 18 Remy (Granero – 46′ )
  • 25 Zamora (Mackie – 72′ )

Substitutes

  • 26 Murphy
  • 20 Fabio
  • 14 Granero
  • 23 Hoilett
  • 28 Ehmer
  • 12 Mackie
  • 37 Bothroyd
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Attendance: 44,792
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8 thoughts on “Liverpool 1-0 QPR – Carra’s Last Stand

  1. I echo those sentiments entirely. Firstly, thanks Carra. A true legend. I remember being in the Kop against Aston Villa back in 1997 when we won 3-0 and Carra bulleted a header in the Kop net. We all thought, “Wow, a goal scoring midfielder”. Of course his best work for Liverpool was as a centre-back.

    He did play a lot at left-back under Gerard Houllier and he did get quite a bit of stick back then as I recall. Not Christian Poulsen-esque or early days Lucas Leiva, but he had his fair share of crtitcs as he was not the best left-back at coming forward. Having said that, defensively at left-back he was brilliant.

    It was of course at centre-back where he excelled. His performance in Istanbul was real Roy Of The Rovers stuff. Even though AC Milan attacked with real purpose in extra-time we fans had that “its OK, Carra’s at the back, he will sort it” attitude.

    Jonathan is right when he mentions Coutinho being the best signing in the last transfer window and a big “well done” to Jordan Ibe. Debut at 17 and he didn’t look out of place did he?

    We’ve all been saying for a while that this summer’s signings will announce a big (or a small statement). I’m not knocking Kolo Toure but if the extent of signing him is because he is available on a free then that might give us an indication that either big money will not be made available, which of course will be bad news, or that more hopefully, any money spent will be spent on top quality players (Christian Eriksen anyone?)

    Even though getting the right summer signings is vital, lets not lose sight of the good crop of youngsters we have coming through (with Ibe and Coady being the latest two with more to follow – McLaughlin, Sama, Teixera, Lloyd Jones, Yesil, Morgan to name just a few). Credit to Brendan Rodgers for blooding these players and with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Suso and Andre Wisdom, with the experience they have now gained, they will be like new signings themselves rather than this time last year, when it was more a case of taking a gamble on untried and unproven players. And let’s not forget, there is Martin Kelly to come back and that Coutinho and Borini are still only young themselves. Hopefully, a bright future ahead.

    Thanks again Carra. Enjoy retirement. YNWA!!

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  2. I’d like to add my agreement to both Jonathan and Frank’s comments. From a personal perspective I was sad to miss my first home game of the season on Sunday because of a family crisis but I was at Anfield for Carra’s home debut and have been to most of the games he’s played since then. He will be truly missed and I hope that once he gets his flirtation with the media out of the way that he comes back as a coach. The loss of a Scouse voice from the side hurts more now than it may have done 20/30 years ago simply because there are so few Scousers in the side now. It’s not a new phenomenon, the Scouse heart of side really went out of it in the mid eighties but back then the backbone of the side was British / Irish with a great Dane and a crazy Zimbabwean thrown in for good measure.

    There’s no going back now to a team of 7/8 local born players but I think most fans will be happy to see one or two Scousers in and around the team in the future, because we all know that first and foremost we want a winning and successful side. So if we were to bring in Christian Eriksen, David Villa and Xabi Alonso to provide a more experienced spine to an emerging side then I for one would be happy. I know Eriksen is only 21 but he already has 34 full caps for Denmark and Champions League experience with Ajax. I would also like to see youth continue to be given it’s head next season; as well as the names mentioned above, Dunn and Peterson could we worth a shout as well.

    In terms of departures, I think Shelvey’s time is up. He lacks discipline and poise and I don’t think he is good enough (how he has an England cap is beyond me). Downing (has not done enough from day one to justify a place) and Enrique (if there’s a blind alley he’ll be the first to find it) can also go. I have question marks over Allan and Borini but if Brendan can get improvements out of them in the same way he has improved Henderson then maybe there’s hope. However, I would not be heartbroken if all three were moved on.

    It’s going to be yet another huge Summer transfer window (don’t we say that every year!). We need to up our game and a top four finish and a cup have to be the priorities next season. We will only achieve that through the acquisition of real talent, with experience. Hence my personal picks. An influx of Borini-like players won’t make up the 20 points we need to achieve a top four finish (not that I have anything against Fabio, honest…). Coutinho needs to be played behind the striker every game next season, not on the left where he can’t flourish. The advanced playmaker role is surely his for years to come. With Eriksen / Suarez / Gerrard alongside him and Lucas and Alonso sitting deep we may lack width but we will have bags of talent!

    Brendan also needs to up his game; setting “clean sheet targets” and “finishing one place higher than last season is a good result” comments aren’t good enough for managers of Liverpool FC. Our only objective must be to win every game we play, Names in envelopes and “group growth” simply don’t cut it. We need to win games to be successful and if we win every game 2-1 then I for one will not care about wining the clean sheets table. Winning leagues and cups are what LFC is for, nothing else counts.

    Hope these posts continue next year and here’s hoping for a great 13/14 season!.

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    • Great post Stephen. We are all waiting with bated breath for the summer transfer activity. You are right we will never get to the 7/8 players Scouse heartbeat of the first 11 and with Carra’s retirement and with the imminent departure of Jay Spearing the only Scouse voice will be Stevie G’s.

      Jack Dunn (Scouser as well) and Kris Peterson are also good prospects. We’ve already mentioned a few others, suffice to say we have quite a few good ‘uns on the conveyor belt. Hopefully our much improved scouting team will continue to unearth a few more. Let’s hope our new signing from Barcelona, Sergi Canos, will be a hit and that he will be involved sooner rather than later as he is 18 so you would imagine that he won’t be far off.

      I agree with Stephen about Brendan Rodgers needing to up his game. We back him obviously but he needs to stop with the “haven’t we done well finishing 7th” comments. Mind you he is nowhere near as bad as Roy Hodgson in that respect. Anyone remember his pre-match press conference before our defeat to Northampton in the League Cup where he made them sound like Barcelona.

      Just hope that Brendan Rodgers will also refrain from referring to the players as a “group”. Mind you, splitting hairs maybe. If he wins us the title, he can call them whatever he likes (within reason).

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  3. Lots of great points brought up. The club is in a difficult position. Liverpool is a big name club but in an era when money rules teams like PSG and Monaco can pop up and buy players for ridiculous money when we are not winning trophies (earning extra income).Champions League attracts the top players, Rodgers will have to continue to unearth players like Coutinho and Sturridge etc and make them top players, although Coutinho isnt far off. Rodgers coming from a much smaller club has probably taken some time to adjust expectation levels.Both Stephen and Frank, you mentioned that some things are simply not good enough. I agree whole heartedly, some comments made me cringe last season but I do believe hes learning as he goes. Hes relatively young and most importantly of all he needs to be backed by the owners.

    Hodgson never gave himself a fighting chance. I never liked the man in the first place but his negative attitude from day one to players and supporters alike was criminal. Id rather have Rodgers and look to see what he can do next season. I know a lot of supporters are unhappy at FSG at how the club is being run. It would be great if we could have owners living in England and running it from there but would it make a difference seeing as Henry and Werner know little about the game? The answer is surely to appoint someone to make those decisions for them that they can trust. Christian Purslow need not apply. On the other side of things would it be acceptable to be taken over by some oil rich owners from the middle east and buy our way back to the top? I for one wouldn’t gain much gratitude from this. In the long run we will get back to where we belong, we just don’t know how long thats going to take but buying good quality players, blooding some youth teamers and building the team from there has been the Liverpool way in the Premier League era and Benitez showed whats possible with a team of players that were hardly all superstars, stand up Igor Biscan and Djimi Traore. Love both those players, hardly skillful but gave everything for the club.

    I’ve gone a bit off topic here lads but wanted to see what your opinion was on some of these topics.

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    • As we all seem to agree, we are on the same page in a lot of respects really. I’m quite happy with the steady progress approach rather than a quick fix. If we had Arab oil money then with that together our pulling power we would be right back up there immediately. But at what cost? Short-term fix maybe but with a long-term problem to follow. No-one knows yet what will happen to Chavski or Man Citeh if their sugar daddys walked away because obviously, it hasn’t happened yet. But when it does? Do we want to be in that position? I don’t think so. As Jonathan says we are on the right track and the mention of cringe-worthy moments from Rodgers at times is not a moan, just an observation. As I’ve said before though, he is nowhere as bad as Hodgson. Northampton was bad as was his almost hero worship of Whiskey Nose when we played the Mancs.

      I partly disagree with the top players only wanting Champions League football. Citeh were nowhere near the Champions League but still attracted top players. We all know how they attracted them don’t we. In the main, top players want CL football, but mainly they want money because invariably CL football co-incides with top wages, until a Citeh comes along and the money is the shining light for the players who could have quite easily gone elsewhere for CL football, but not the same money. I think we are on the right track and not far away and I prefer our approach.

      As Jonathan says, if Rafa could do it with Biscan, Traore, Baros, Kewell, Nunez, Josemi et al, then why shouldn’t Brendan Rodgers do it with the right signings. How many times do you see a player leave a successful side and flop elsewhere. I remember thinking that of Ronnie Whelan in the 80’s. A great player for us but if you took him out of the Liverpool side and put him in another side, would he have been as effective? I’m not sure. No criticism of Whelan, I thought he was great but invariably it’s the sum of the parts that makes a great side and if Rodgers sees a template and gets the pieces to fit, then the sum of the parts may not need to cost top dollar in every case. Would you rather have Coutinho and Sturridge for a combined £20m, or a “won’t try a leg” Torres for £50m? (any co-incidence that his best spell at Chavski has been since Rafa’s been there?. I don’t think so. Rafa would have improved him if he cost £50m or £5).

      A bit surprised to hear that you have heard criticism from a lot of fans about FSG Jonathan. I haven’t heard anything from the lads I go the game with or those that sit by us. In fact, I can’t recall hearing any criticism at all really. I think most fans know they are in it for the long haul and have a real interest, not like Statler and Waldorf before them. It seems they are running it as they should, a proper business.

      Anyway, I’ve rambled again. Some great points again Jonathan. Really enjoy the discussions on here.

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      • I suspect if we found ourselves sitting round a table in a bar we would agree on most things football here. I believe Frank hit the nail on the head when he referred to the “sum of the parts”. Rather than having a team of ultra expensive mercenaries (hello PSG, Man City etc) bankrolled by owners who set targets of 5 trophies in 5 years (and how totally “un-football” is that?), I am happy to see the team develop around two or three really great talents and 7 or 8 solid guys who know their role. I’m not looking for 8 Gareth Barry’s but rather the Ronnie Whelan / Craig Johnston / Phli Neal type of players who know their roles well and can support a Dalglish and Souness in the side. Buying success has never been the “Liverpool Way” and I hope it never will.

        However, I’m not 100% convinced by the Rafa had success with Kewell, Traore, Biscan, Nunez etc argument. He moved Ged’s players on pretty quickly (after winning a European Cup with them) and brought in a real selection of clowns alongside the Alonso’s, Mascherano’s and er what was that blond haired lads name? What Rafa was really good at was winning the big games and that’s something we obviously miss under Brendan who so far has a pretty poor record against the top sides (although we did shows signs of improving towards the end of the season). Mind you he also has a poor record against Oldham and West Brom 🙂

        I think most fans accept the owners for what they are. They made some mistakes that cost us – principally being conned by Comolli into being given a small fortune to spend badly and (with hindsight I confess) extending Kenny’s contract beyond the end of his first season – but I think they are learning and adopting a measured approach to football club ownership now.

        We clearly have to stick with Brendan. If he talks less next season and delivers more then more power to him. Let’s hope a few players of real quality come in and more young players come through.

        Oh and hear hear Frank, I can’t believe it was 8 years ago tonight, and as I write this at half time in this year’s final I can still remember this bloke next to me yelling “you’ve spent your money and all come this way so you might as well sing”, and we did – and we all know what happened after that !

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