18th January 1997, a young Jamie Carragher is given his first start for Liverpool by manager Roy Evans. Having made his first appearance off the bench 10 days earlier in a 2-1 defeat to Middlesbrough in the League Cup; Carragher was yet to have won a game after the team drew 0-0 with West Ham three days later.
Patrik Berger’s illness meant that Carragher would make his first start at Anfield as a midfielder and it only took 20 seconds for him to go into the referee’s book, the phrase “let them know you’re there” is often thrown about by managers; it’s fair to say the Middlesbrough players that day quickly learnt who Jamie Carragher was.
With the game at a deadlock at half-time, it would be the debutant that would prove to be the unlikely hero. Quick movement in the box meant Carragher was unmarked to head the ball down and past the Villa keeper, a debut goal in-front of The Kop is a dream for any young scouser…unless you grew up supporting Everton.
Liverpool would go on to win the game 3-0 with further goals from Collymore and Fowler, Carragher would go on from there to have a highly successful career at Liverpool; making a total of 737 appearances over a period of sixteen years. During his career Carragher would be part of the treble winning squad in 2001, win the FA Cup again in 2006, the League Cup in 2012 and of course win the Champions League in dramatic fashion in Istanbul 2005.
He would also go on to score four more goals against Middlesbrough, Southampton, Fulham and FBK Kaunas (its ok, I don’t know who they are either) but for every goal he scored; he quite liked to put one in the back of his own net for good measure. Overall, Carragher notched up five goals for Liverpool but scored an incredible eight own goals including one in the FA Cup Final in 2006.
Luckily for Carragher that day his mate Steven Gerrard was on hand to spare his blushes, but even Gerrard can’t hide the fact that in 737 appearances Jamie Carragher has a goal-scoring record of -3 goals at Liverpool FC.
Happy Anniversary Jamie, we promise not to talk about those two games against Spurs in 98 & 99, or the game against United also in 1999, or that time…
Article by Louis Connor
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