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BLOOD RED: Pundits will be sorry to write Liverpool FC stalwart Jamie Carragher off
Published : 26 Sep 2009 05:00:00Rss feed
KNEE-JERK reactions are increasingly common in the modern game. It seems you are either a world beater or a no-hoper, the middle ground has never been smaller. After the opening weekend defeat at Spurs, critics were queuing up to claim Liverpool would be consigned to a season of struggle without 'lynchpin' Xabi Alonso. Fast forward five weeks and on the back of five successive wins the Spaniard barely merits a passing mention. Steven Gerrard has a rare off night against Aston Villa and inquests are held on the airwaves into why he's 'lost his way'. One swing of his right boot at Bolton and those same pundits are lauding the skipper as the greatest midfielder on the planet. Fernando Torres goes two games without scoring and is said to be fatigued and in need of a rest. A devastating two-goal burst at West Ham and Rafa Benitez is asked if Torres is now favourite for the Golden Boot. This week it was Jamie Carragher's turn to be on the receiving end of some misguided flak from the 'experts'. The 31-year-old centre-back didn't need to be told he wasn't at his best against the Hammers. He had an off day in the capital but the fact that he was once beaten for pace by 20-year-old Jamaican speed merchant Javon Hines was seized upon as somehow proof that Father Time is catching up with him. Former Reds striker Stan Collymore, who retired at the age of 30 having never fulfilled his own potential, was one of the first to stick the boot in. 'As much as I respect Jamie Carragher and everything he's done for Liverpool, I do think he's starting to dip,' he said. 'It makes me wonder if Rafa Benitez shouldn't take whatever transfer budget he will have in January and spend it all on a top quality centre-half.'