Rodgers: Replacing Carragher difficult
By Football News
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers conceded that it will be hard to replace retiring defender Jamie Carragher.
The Merseyside club finished their season with a 1-0 victory over QPR at Anfield on Sunday, with Philippe Coutinho grabbing the only goal of the game.
And there was almost a storybook ending, as Carragher struck a shot that crashed off the post from 30 yards in a move more reminiscent of team-mate Steven Gerrard.
"What he (Carragher) has got at this football club is unique," Rodgers said. "You have to find different ways (of replacing him). All great players, their time comes to an end.
"We've seen it here through the years. You look at Ian Rush when he went away and they brought in John Barnes and Peter Beardsley - and they brought something else.
"We need to find a good one now to come in and support the group - and it certainly won't be easy."
Carragher was withdrawn with five minutes remaining, a move premeditated by Rodgers to allow him to take the acclaim of the Anfield crowd. And the Northern Irishman praised his impact since coming back into the side.
"I knew I was going to do it," he added. "Traditionally they come off at the end and I was frightened in case I forgot.
"He's an incredible player and a real gentleman. You saw his performance today - his ambition was to go out at the top and he's going out as a top, top performer.
"He's played 16 Premier League games since he came back into the team and we've only lost one. He's been an absolutely colossal player and at 35 he's still fit and strong."
As one career ended, another began for Liverpool as 17-year-old Jordon Ibe made his debut for the club.
Rodgers was happy with the application of his latest young star.
"I thought he did very well," Rodgers said. "It's not easy playing at Anfield, his first game here for the first-team. As the game went on he became better and better.
"I said before the game I'd give him 60-65 minutes. He's got real potential and you can see he's a footballer. He linked up very well with young Coutinho and made some good passes and got some shots off."