Liverpool Lore: The anchor at the back, Jamie Carragher

There are few players that had the longevity at Liverpool than Jamie Carragher.

UEFA Champions League - Liverpool v Anderlecht
UEFA Champions League - Liverpool v Anderlecht / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

It has been a long time but we are back with another edition of Liverpool Lore. This time around, we are going to take a look at one of the longest serving players in the club's history. You might know him from his media role these days, but those lucky enough to remember him on the pitch have some stories. It's none other than Jamie Carragher.

The first thing you might think about when thinking about Carragher in a Liverpool shirt is how long he was with the club.

He was the very rare one club man. Not even Steven Gerrard could say that at the end of his career. There was no doubting the loyalty and love for the badge when it came to Carragher.

The Beginning

Carragher grew up as an Everton fan but he quickly realized the coaching setup at youth levels was far superior at Liverpool.

After initially being used in the midfield, he was tried out in defense and this would turn out to be the best move of his career. He made his senior team debut in 1997 during the League Cup Quarterfinal.

He scored his first goal for the club shortly thereafter when he was on the scoresheet in a 3-0 Premier League win over Aston Villa. However, it would not be until the 1997-98 season that Carragher would truly announce himself to the football world.

His early playing days with Liverpool did not have him at the heart of defense on a week-to-week basis. Instead, his versatility was more important as he played a variety of positions in the side.

Career really gets rolling

From the 1998-99 season through the end of 2010, Carragher played fewer than 33 times in the League only once. This remarkable ability to stay fit and on the field while playing at the highest level is something that was unheard of then and especially now.

During this stretch is when the he won the majority of his silverware as well. The most important of course being the 2005 Champions League.

It might not be a coincidence that this was the first season that Carragher was moved full-time to center-back. Thank you Rafa Benitez for that one.

This would set Carragher on a career defining trajectory of being one of the best English defenders of his generation. He also played a crucial role in the Champions League Final against AC Milan where he suffered from cramps.

For a defender that played the game in a no-nonsense hard-nosed fashion, Carragher was never a real risk of being sent off. His elite positional awareness and timing helped him cover up his general lack of pace.

One could say this is something similar to what we see with Virgil Van Dijk. Granted, big Virg has physical tools and gifts that Jamie Carragher would have been over the moon to have.

Over the years, Liverpool made the unfortunate plunge from European champions to also-rans in the Premier League.

As he got older and the talent around him became less elite, it became tougher and tougher to maintain the extreme standards he had set for himself.

It was in these moments where his leadership and tactical knowhow helped the club out of some very sticky situations.

He and the club were able to turn back the clock for a brief time as they won the 2012 League Cup. It was Carragher's third triumph in the competition with Liverpool.

The following year, with the likes of Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel both in their prime, and Jamie at 35, he could see the writing on the wall going forward. As a result, he called it a career at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season.

He made a ridiculous 737 appearances in all comps for Liverpool over his illustrious career. He is still 2nd on the Liverpool all-time appearance list with no current player even in the same stratosphere.

During his tenure he also won 11 trophies which in of itself is impressive as for a lot of his career the club were not at the elite level of former years or recent years.

However, outside of the numbers, Jamie Carragher is remembered for his grit, determination and passion. He did not have all the physical gifts, but he still made a helluva career through sheer power of will.

It wasn't always pretty to watch, well not if you didn't like crunching tackles and organizing a defense that is, but he made his mark and did it his way. Few can touch him in terms of club loyalty and availability over the years.

Jamie Carragher was the heart and soul of the Reds for many years. He was the anchor that held the ship firm during the storm.