By Pete O’Rourke
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has revealed he tried to persuade Jamie Carragher to delay his retirement from football.
Carragher announced last week he planned to hang up his boots at the end of the season after an illustrious career at Anfield.
Gerrard respects Carragher’s decision to call it quits after conceding defeat in his bid to convince his team-mate and close friend to stay on for another year.
“I’ve known a little bit longer than other people. I’ve tried just as hard as everyone else to try to keep him going for a bit longer,” Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo.
“He bounced a few things off me, but he’s made the decision himself along with his family. He’s basically taken no notice of what I said because I was trying for him to push on for another year.
“At times this season it has been difficult for him not being a regular starter because he has been a starter since he made his debut.
“I can respect and understand his decision. We’re all going to come to that moment in our careers.
“He’s had a fantastic career and he feels it’s the right time to go out at the end of the season. Hopefully there are still some big performances left in him before he goes.”
Gerrard admits Carragher’s presence and influence on and off the pitch will be sorely missed at Liverpool.
“It’s sad for me – I’m going to miss him more than anyone,” he added.
“It’s going to be different for me, not having him alongside me as a vice-captain. It’s tough.
“Everyone knows what we’re going to miss on the playing side. Since I made my debut Jamie has been alongside me in the dressing room and been a close mate of mine.
“He has been through the journey with me as well. I’ve bounced a lot of things off him, highs and lows, and we’ve come through it all together.
“People mention him alongside the likes of (Alan) Hansen and (Mark) Lawrenson, the best defenders that this club has ever had. For me, if he’s not alongside them he’s a little bit above them. That’s the biggest compliment I can pay him.
“He’s a wonderful player. At his peak for two or three seasons he was one of the best defenders in the world.”