Committed to last
Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher retired from football to take on a new role as a Sky Sports pundit following Sunday's match with QPR - his 737th for his only professional club. Chris Harvey looks back at how he signed off from his playing career
Last Updated: 19/05/13 7:05pm
The sight of Jamie Carragher, at the age of 35, sprinting to the byline to prevent a corner just about summed up the retiring defender's career.
Never one to give up a lost cause, fully committed to the end, no game or moment too small, the veteran centre-back was at his archetypal best at Anfield against QPR in his final match as Liverpool won 1-0.
But anyone suggesting Carragher is quitting should think again. It's not a word in his vocabulary. He's getting out before he overstays his welcome.
"I still think I could play - next season would be no problem - but that doesn't mean you should carry on," he said.
FA Cup: 2000-01, 2005-06 League Cup: 2000-01, 2002-03, 2011-12 FA Community Shield: 2001, 2006 Champions League: 2004-05 UEFA Cup: 2000-01 European Super Cup: 2001, 2005
"I'd rather go out when people still want me. Football changes so quickly: I could stay on for another 12 months then people are saying I should've finished before instead.
"I'm proud I stayed here. It's not easy to play so many games for a top team.
"When you start getting to the six and seven hundreds it's quite frightening."
What will concern manager Brendan Rodgers is just how he replaces someone of Carragher's experience.
The Reds boss admits he brought him back in mid-January to instil some steel and leadership in his side.
What he does to replace that only he knows but captain Steven Gerrard summed it up when he wrote of Carragher in his programme notes: "He has been a rock for Liverpool over so many years.
"There's no way Liverpool - or any other club - would be able to find someone with the personality and ability of Carra."
It was a long and emotional walk around the perimeter of the pitch as Carragher said goodbye to Anfield for the last time as a player.
In keeping with the player's character he looked like he didn't quite know how to handle all the pre and post-match congratulations.
As he exited the guard of honour made up of both teams and backroom staff he immediately urged his team-mates to break ranks and get on with the game.
Nothing is more important than the game to Carragher.
The Reds dressing room will be a very different place next season and football in general is slightly diminished by his retirement.
Carragher career highs
January 8, 1997: Makes first-team debut as a substitute in a League Cup tie aged 19 having already spent a decade at the club he joined while still at primary school.
Fans say their goodbyes to a Liverpool legend
March 3, 2001: Wins first senior trophy with victory in the League Cup final after a penalty shoot-out against Birmingham. Goes on to play a pivotal part in FA Cup and UEFA Cup success later that season.
May 25, 2005: Despite being stricken by cramp late on in extra-time, Carragher produces a typical last-gasp tackle to deny AC Milan's Andriy Shevchenko as Liverpool famously came back from 3-0 down at half-time to win the Champions League on penalties.
August 26, 2005: In the absence of the injured Gerrard, Carragher captains Liverpool to victory over CSKA Moscow and lifts the European Super Cup in Monte Carlo.
May 1, 2007: Writes his name into the club's considerable record books with a 90th European appearance, surpassing Ian Callaghan's previous best, keeping Didier Drogba quiet in the Champions League semi-final second leg victory over Chelsea at Anfield.