Jamie Carragher: Fear of losing to Everton spurs Liverpool FC on
THE emotions will be all so familiar. Jamie Carragher has been in this position many times during his career but experience has not made him immune to nerves. While the Merseyside derby may be a fascinating spectacle to a national audience, for those of a local slant, it is, an ordeal to be endured rather than enjoyed, particularly when so much is riding on the outcome - just ask Carragher. 'This is the one game you would take any kind of performance, as long as you get the win,' he says with a wry smile. 'I struggle to sleep before most big games but this one is the worst. Mind you, it's nothing a sleeping pill won't sort out!' As someone who grew up watching contests that were the domain of giants such as Rush and Barnes, Sharp and Steven, he vividly recalls euphoric highs after victories but, equally, will never forget the desolation of defeat. But if the pain of losing was bad for Carragher the supporter, it has been even more acute for Carragher the player; for instance, 12 months have passed since Everton knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup but he still recoils at the memory of that night. Fortunately, though, the lows Carragher has experienced during 12 years of derby combat - his first taste came when marking Duncan Ferguson in a 1-1 Anfield draw on February 23, 1998 - have been few and far between. That, of course, is down to the fact Liverpool dominated this fixture in the 'Noughties' like never before; two defeats in 20 games, eight victories at Goodison Park and a raft of goals ensured plenty of good times for the Red half of the city. But, as satisfying as those statistics are, they belong to the past, which is why it should come as no surprise to learn that Carragher's aim, in the second month of this new decade, is for Liverpool's dominance of this local squabble to continue. If that is to happen, starting tomorrow, Liverpool will have no option but to match Everton's industry and determination; do that and they will, at least, give themselves an outstanding chance of making Carragher's 25th derby appearance a winning one. 'My feelings haven't changed one bit,' he said. 'There is always that little bit of extra anxiety, which comes from the fear of losing. You talk about results being more important than performances but, ideally, you want to put the two together. 'But when you think over the last decade, we've probably had our best ever run of results against Everton. Normally in the past whenever Everton have beaten Liverpool, the accusation was that they wanted it a little bit more. 'So I'm glad in the last decade we have turned that around and hopefully we'll be able to keep the run going into the next decade. The important thing is that you could never accuse us of lacking desire in these games.'
Related Liverpool News