Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers may try to talk Jamie Carragher out of retiring this summer.
Like Steven Gerrard, the 35-year-old defender is an Anfield icon and one of the most-recognizable names of the Premier League era. He’s made more than 500 league appearances for the club – his only club – since 1996-97.
It’s fair to say that Carragher has been past his prime for a couple of years now, relying on experience to compensate for declining speed and making the occasional glaring error during a long, slow, fade.
He was never the most talented of center halves, but forced his way into the first-team on a regular basis through willpower, hard work and an underrated soccer intellect. Not to mention a forceful, honest and loyal character that endeared him to Liverpool fans at a club that has an especially reverent relationship with home-grown talent.
The sort of personality that made him influential in the locker-room and could see him become a forthright and insightful media pundit for his next job.
He collected 38 England caps, most recently at during the nation’s dire 2010 World Cup finals – three years after he’d originally retired from international soccer because of a lack of action.
Carragher announced in February that he would hang up his boots at the end of this season, but he has made 33 appearances, 24 of them starts, in all competitions this term. He’s been a first-choice lately, so it’s not surprising that Rodgers is interested in keeping his services in 2013-14, even though the manager is overhauling the roster and bringing in younger players.
Rodgers told Sky Sports:
“He’s been fantastic and I do [believe he could play next season]. Him and I communicate a lot and he’s obviously got something in his mind. Him and I will sit down between now and the end of the season anyway and we’ll see where it goes. If he does go, I will certainly miss him because he’s been brilliant for me in my time there, going in as a manager of a club of that size. He’s shown great respect and really helped me and the other guys. The thing for now is to keep performing the way he is until the end of the season and between then and now him and I will chat and we’ll take it from there.”
Spanish outlet Marca claims that a number of North American sides are among the clubs chasing Fernando Torres.
The Spanish striker has only scored more than 11 goals once since 2009-10, and is uncapped since 2014. But that doesn’t mean clubs from China to to the U.S. and the UAE to Japan aren’t interested in the 31-year-old.
[ JPW: Recapping the top stories from an intense Premier League weekend ]
The Marca report claims three MLS teams are interested and also name drops the New York Cosmos of the NASL, who’ve recently brought Venezuelan legend Juan Arango on board.
It’s hard to imagine anyone outside the MLS rich sides taking a risk on Torres. Maybe Montreal would look to reunite him with Didier Drogba, and Torres certainly has experience combining with New York City’s David Villa. As for the third… Orlando City? Chicago?
Your guess is as good as ours, though it could be moot if this is solely about money. China continues to spend well.
Gabriel Agbonlahor is riding high, as the Premier League Player of the Week broke his duck this weekend and is thinking “great escape” for his Aston Villa side.
Villa has eight points in its last five matches, doubling its season total to 16. That’s still table bottom, but Remi Garde’s bunch would love to see their way out of the drop zone after a brutal start to the season under Tim Sherwood.
What would it take for Villa to pull that off, and avoid the first Premier League relegation in club history?
[ MORE: Premier League Team of the Week ]
Turns out, a lot.
There is no easy match in the next five, and Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are all on the schedule after that.
Villa next five matches
Feb. 14 – vs. Liverpool
Feb. 27 – at Stoke City
March 1 – vs. Everton
March 5 – at Manchester City
March 12 – vs. Spurs
The Villans do have three relegation six-pointers left, and two of those are at Villa Park with Bournemouth and Newcastle United. Villa also heads to Swansea City.
But Villa has to make up 12 points on the Cherries, 11 on Swans and eight on the Magpies. And while they are within two goals difference of Newcastle, they have eight goals to make up on Bournemouth and 11 to make up on Swansea.
That doesn’t include Sunderland and Norwich, sides four and seven points ahead of the Villans (though both have tricky runs left as well).
If Garde’s club is to make its escape, it will be close to unbelievable. That it will close with a match against Arsenal makes it even trickier, but that would be just the final impressive note in what could only be considered a Garde-conducted masterpiece.
What a weekend. Let’s relive it.
Round 25 of the Premier League provided plenty more thrills, shocks and excitement as two unlikely title contenders — Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur — are pushing ahead.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Our own Joe Prince-Wright recaps all the major headlines from what could turn out to be a pivotal weekend in the Premier League title race.
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Click play on the video below to join JPW as he battles the elements and checks in from outside Stamford Bridge in London following Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
Come for the goal, stay for the “Gol” call.
Or should we say the “Gol. Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Gol” call.
[ MORE: Angry Louis van Gaal rips journalists for “inventing” stories ]
USMNT defender Omar Gonzalez has opened his account for Pachuca with this 88th minute header, and it’s worth it if just for the auditory performance.
Gonzalez also pulls out the high-capacity weapon celebration, though he’s apparently opted to do the version closer to the “Scarface” finale (Spoiler alert).