Friday, September 25, 2009

Jaime Carragher: Is his time coming?

This is undoubtedly going to be a very touchy subject for many a Red, but I think it is one that deserves looking at. For all my forthcoming criticism, I challenge anyone to find me someone in the past 10-15 years who exemplifies LFC more than Jaime Carragher. The no nonsense defender has been a rock in our defense for a decade. He's the one player in our first team that I can always depend on. Even through his odd blunders over the years, he's always come back with something brilliant.

Over the past two years however; and most recently our first six league games, there seems to be a chink developing in Carra's armor. In the beginning, it was easily brushed off as a one off blunder from our most consistent player. Yet, as he nears his 32nd birthday, other reasons are beginning to enter my frame of mind. Is it his fitness, is he not sure of himself or his ability, is he just naturally wearing down?

In my opinion, it is the latter. I am not one to criticize his footballing brain as he has an incredible footballing brain, but Jamie is now 31 years old and his current form seems to suggest he has lost a stop. This has never been more evident to me than in the last 2 matches against West Ham & Leeds United respectively.

Against West Ham, young Zavon Hines was a terror against our back line, and won what looked to be a deserving penalty against Carragher. To be fair, Carra was never the fleetest of foot but this penalty paints a good picture for my argument. I am of the opinion that he could have been in a slightly more defensive position that would have cut that angle out, instead he attempts to go step for step with a much quicker Hines.

His decision making would come into question yet again just three days later against Leeds in the Carling Cup. Most memorable for me was the long ball that was put over the top for Jermaine Beckford. Had that ball been just 6 inches shorter, Beckford could have controlled the ball and had no one but the keeper to beat. He seemed to be trying to catch Beckford offside, but his positioning was such that he could not recover quickly.

Add this to his well publicized bust up with Arbeloa at the end of last season and he sudden lack of communication with Skrtel that landed the latter with a stint on the sidelines, I am beginning to wonder when our most consistent of performers is going to be dropped. I am by no means calling for this to happen, but the time where he is 3rd choice is not far off in my opinion.

Would you like to be Rafa Benitez making that decision? I wouldn't

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