JAMIE CARRAGHER recently stated he was not one to go knocking on the manager’s door to demand he should be playing.
But perhaps Brendan Rodgers should instead go knocking on the door of the veteran Liverpool centre-back.
With Rodgers having openly questioned the character of his side in the aftermath of the dismal Boxing Day beating at Stoke City, the biggest personality in the Anfield squad has been sat shuffling his feet on the bench in recent weeks.
Now, barely a week after revealing he was contemplating the end of his career, there is a growing clamour for Carragher to be thrown back into the first team.
Given the volume at which the alarm bells have been ringing since the limp midweek surrender at the Britannia, it’s no surprise.
Tomorrow, Liverpool visit rock-bottom Queens Park Rangers, the venue for arguably their worst show of character last season, letting slip a two-goal lead before losing 3-2 in the closing moments to relegation-threatened opposition.
And Rodgers has hinted there may be a role for Carragher to play in the coming weeks.
“Our senior players are taking responsibility,” he says. “We have the likes of Steven Gerrard, who has been a wonderful captain, and Jamie Carragher, who hasn’t been playing that much but has been absolutely brilliant.
“Everyone criticised Steven this season, and I’ve been batting for him all season because even though he hasn’t been scoring his usual amount of goals, he has still very important for our game.
“If you look at him now he is getting the goals. I thought he was brilliant against Stoke, he was the one player who kept going with his passing, he made tackles, got forward at the right times and provided leadership for the team.”
There are other reasons for Rodgers to turn to the experience of Carragher.
While the manager admitted Liverpool hadn’t earned the right to play their football against Stoke, the Anfield outfit’s leaky defence – becoming the first team to concede three goals to the Potters in the Premier League in 13 months – is surely of more concern.
“The goals were disappointing,” admits the Northern Irishman. “I analysed the game and our effort and work-rate were fine but in key moments of the game you have be better than we were.
“When you are playing Stoke, there are three key things you focus on in your preparation: make sure you don’t get done with the long ball and pick up the second ball; you have to get tight on corners; and make sure you are organised for the second and first ball at throw-ins.
“We got done on all three.”