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.”
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
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No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday