The Liverpool legend says that he thrives in the Merseyside derby atmosphere but even that was not enough to convince him to postpone his retirement plans
Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher admits that he is desperate to enjoy one last victory over rivals Everton before he retires at the end of the season.
The 35-year-old is preparing to hang up his boots when the current campaign comes to a close, with a punditry role on Sky Sports lined up, but still has one more objective to tick off the list before he makes his way into the TV studio.
Sunday will see the Anfield legend contest his 30th Merseyside derby and he insists that nothing else compares to the feeling of getting one over on your rivals, given the close proximity of the clubs.
“If I could only win one game every year it would be the derby without a shadow of a doubt,” he told the Daily Mirror.
“I totally get the Manchester United/Liverpool thing but for me playing Everton is bigger. If you get beat by United the fans are 40 minutes down the road but you can’t get away from Evertonians.
“Also Everton love beating Liverpool more than we do beating them. Knowing how much they want to win makes you even more determined. It was like that when I was a kid [and supported Everton]. I just wanted to beat Liverpool.”
Carragher revealed that retirement has been on his mind for some time and was aided in his decision by a philosophical quote from a fellow professional, as well as a desire to maintain high playing standards in front of the Liverpool fans.
“I’d been thinking for a while: how do you get out? How do you finish with Liverpool?,” he added. “And a quote I’d read years ago from a foreign player stuck with me: ‘Leave the football before football leaves you’.
“I’ve always had that in the back of my mind. Especially as I’ve been at Liverpool all of my life and I never want to let the club or supporters down.”
Even with the clock winding down on his career, the Reds defender is experiencing somewhat of an Indian summer in terms of form. Carragher has started 12 of the last 13 Premier League games but says that he does not want to play on for too long.
“It’s nice that people are saying ‘you’re playing well, you should carry on’ but, the more I hear that, the more I think I’ve made the right decision to go now,” he added.
“As an Everton fan and Liverpool player I’ve seen too many people get slaughtered when supporters think they’ve gone on too long. I don’t want that.”