Jamie Carragher admitted it was a proud night for him to make his 700th Liverpool appearance in the 1-0 victory over FC Gomel – but insisted it was more significant the team recorded a win in Brendan Rodgers’ first competitive game in charge.
The defender led the Reds out in Belarus on his landmark night as Stewart Downing’s late goal ensured it ended in success.
However, while delighted to have reached the milestone, Carragher was eager to stress Rodgers picking up a win in his first competitive game in charge was more important than his own personal accolade.
“Every game for Liverpool is a massive game – it doesn’t matter where it is – and I’m delighted and proud to have played that many games for the club,” he told Liverpoolfc.com at the Central Stadion.
“It was a nice night for me on that score, but it was more important because it was the manager’s first game. That’s more important than me playing 700 games.
“It’s a big thing for a manager in his first game, especially playing in Europe. It’s a big thing for Liverpool, great tradition, and it’s great we got the victory for the manager more than anything.
“As I said, his first game was more important than my 700.”
Liverpool were made to work hard for their win by a Gomel side 15 games into their season in the Belarusian top flight.
Carragher admitted the fact both teams were at different levels of fitness was a factor, but felt the workout did the Reds good as they gear up for the start of the Barclays Premier League season.
He said: “We’re pleased with the victory. It was a tough game, as European away games always are. They’re in the middle of a season and I think you could see that in the fitness levels – they were much better at times than us.
“With fitness levels, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing against, whatever level it is, if they’re half-way through their season it’s going to be tough.
“Some of our lads were playing their first game. It was the first time I’ve played 90 minutes and it was the same for a few of us. It was a very tough game and you’d probably say they had the better of the game, to be fair.
“But that’s what playing in Europe is about, getting the win and a vital away goal puts us in a strong position. We’re delighted to come away with the victory.”
Meanwhile, Carragher was keen to pay tribute to the Liverpool fans in attendance at the Central Stadion, some of whom had undertaken a mammoth journey from Merseyside to cheer on the Reds.
He said: “My dad normally comes (to games), but even he said it’d be a nightmare trying to get here and never made it.
“All credit to the lads and supporters who made it here. Going back will be tough as well, but there will be a few stories to tell, I’m sure!”