This is a tribute to Jamie Carragher: Highly-esteemed Liverpool FC defender, erstwhile England player, and all-around football legend, in my eyes at least.
He may have been overshadowed by his contemporaries Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard for years, but as time went by, Carragher’s unique brand of Scouse swagger, humour, charm, not to mention his inimitable manner of speaking, and of course, his take-no-prisoners, no-holds-barred style of football defence, has earned him a loyal and devoted following throughout the world.
This testimonial match has actually been put off by several years, considering that it’s usually held after a player has spent 10 years with the club. Be that as it may, here are some of the highlights of the Liverpool XI vs Everton XI, in case you’ve missed it:
1.0 Let’s start with that (Manc) elephant in the room: Yes, Michael Owen did get booed by some people, but he also got a warm reception from the rest of the crowd. Overall, it was 50-50. Good enough for me.
2.0 Backtracking a little bit, we got a glimpse of Carra’s 2 children, James and Mia, displaying their football skills on the pitch pre-match. It seems like it was only days ago when they were both babies being carried by Carra during the Lap of Honor, and now they both look like they’re preparing to join the England NT! Or perhaps the Liverpool Youth and Ladies’ Teams?
3.0 Steven Gerrard was actually allowed by Fabio Capello to leave the England camp and play in the match for 10 minutes, which he did, no more, no less.
4.0 It would have been great to see Gerrard, Owen, Murphy and Carragher (otherwise known as the Scouse Mafia) play together again but Danny Murphy only came on to replace Gerrard after his 10 minutes were up.
5.0 Jamie Redknapp, who was supposed to play in the match, had to decline at the last minute due to a “knee problem”. Damn you for getting my hopes up on seeing you play again, Jamie.
6.0 Roy Hodgson AND Gerard Houllier managed the Liverpool squad. This made me all choked up and nostalgic. Old Le Boss reunited with his boys…Excuse me while I discreetly blow my nose.
7.0 Luis Garcia scored the opening goal. Now, he’s a good lad and has scored loads of important goals for us back then, but I still can’t like him 100% since he was the player who first inherited the #10 shirt after Michael left.
9.0 Halftime came and Owen got subbed off. Made me sad of course, I would have loved for him to have scored but at least his last attempt, which flew above the bar, got applause from the Kop. Joe Cole came in and scored LFC’s 3rd goal.
10.0 Carra then gave away a penalty to Everton, BUT he sneaked in and took the penalty himself! That made the scoreline 3-1, with the penalty counting as an OG. Trust Carra to mix things up AND to deny Everton the chance to score a goal in the process!
11.0 David Thompson also made an appearance in the 2nd half. Yes, David fricking Thompson. I used to have a crush on him and I still have a mini-Liverpool FC poster of him, circa 1999. Haha.
12.0 The other Liverpool legends who graced the match include Jerzy Dudek, Steve Finnan, Gary McAllister, Jason McAteer, and Emile Heskey. Old-school LFC. I almost felt 13 years old again.
13.0 The match ended at Liverpool FC 4-1 Everton FC, with the goals scored by Garcia, Carragher, Cole, Eccleston, and of course, the OG by Carragher.
I wish the match would have gone on for 2 more hours. 90 minutes seemed like mere 9 minutes if you take into consideration all the legendary players that turned up to pay tribute to Carra by wanting to play in the match! This will definitely be a classic, as it is very unlikely that these lads will be given another opportunity to play alongside each other again. A bittersweet reality is that glorious reunions will lead to eventual farewells. Still, let us not forget that one man made this all possible for us.
636 appearances. 14 years of service. He’s our Number 23 and quite possibly, the Most Badass Scouse Mang. Ever.
Jamie Carragher. Bow down to the Man. I know I am.
For those who missed all the action: