Jamie Carragher, At The End Of The Day: "2005 was freaky, it was a miracle and that homecoming was special"

From scoring on his full debut to hitting the post in his last game, Carra has memories aplenty

I knew I’d made it as a player when...

I made my full debut for Liverpool. I was 18 and scored against Aston Villa at Anfield, Kop End. It took a while to sink in, but it meant that I’d played professionally, played for Liverpool, and no one could take it away from me.

I was happiest during...

For us English lads, winning the FA Cup was that year’s highlight

The treble season in 2001, when Liverpool qualified for the Champions League and won three trophies. Istanbul in 2005 is my career’s standout moment, but there were a lot of ups and downs that season, whereas in 2001 it was just one long series of highs – quarter-finals, semis and finals. Incredible.

For us English lads, winning the FA Cup was that year’s highlight – it was the one we all wanted. Gerard Houllier preferred the UEFA Cup that followed, but that FA Cup was the dream.

The day football broke my heart was...

I actually think Milan played better in the final they lost two years earlier, which just shows how strange football can be

The 2007 Champions League Final. I don’t remember the game’s date, not like the other one: May 25, 2005.

We took some big scalps and had some great nights along the way, but then we fell short in the biggest game. I think we had a better team in 2007, and the performance we put in was enough to win the game. It was what you’d normally expect from a final – a tight, cagey affair and a couple of chances before Pippo Inzaghi won it for them.

I actually think Milan played better in the final they lost two years earlier, which just shows how strange football can be.

My hero growing up...

Used to change every week! I was an Everton fan as a kid in the mid-80s, so Peter Reid, Kevin Sheedy, Trevor Steven and Graeme Sharp were definitely my heroes. I was at Liverpool from the age of eight, but I couldn’t claim any Liverpool players were my heroes at that stage.

Obviously that changed once I got into the reserves and the first team, and now I’d say that someone we all look up to at the club is Kenny Dalglish. He was a great player and manager and he’s still at the club now.

Peter Reid

As a young Evertonian, Carragher admired Peter Reid

Three words that sum me up are...

My one regret is hitting the post with that 25-yarder in my last Liverpool game against QPR

Competitive, enthusiastic and... what else? Passionate? Go on then, let’s go for it. My one regret is hitting the post with that 25-yarder in my last Liverpool game against QPR. To be honest, you have plenty of regrets, looking back at all of the stupid things you’ve done on and off the pitch.

I guess it’s hard when you think about games you didn’t perform well in, but then it’s all good now, isn’t it? There’s nothing you can do anyway.

The item I cherish most is...

My Champions League winner’s medal, definitely. I slept in it the night after I’d won it. It’s the biggest trophy you can win, and so the biggest medal you can in a club career. I keep it at home now. Fortunately I’ve got a few medals in there with it. 

Jamie Carragher

Carragher jumps for joy as Liverpool win the Champions League

If I could have one wish...

I wouldn’t say we should have won the league, but we ran Manchester United close and had a very good season

It would be to have won the Premier League. The closest we came to winning it was in 2008/09. I wouldn’t say we should have won the league, but we ran Manchester United close and had a very good season.

We only lost twice and I think they lost four or five times, but they won more than us because we drew too many games. That was the difference. They probably had more match-winners that could get them goals. That was an obvious problem for us: in certain home games, especially, we just couldn’t break teams down.

My proudest moment is...

2005 was freaky, it was a miracle and, without a doubt, that homecoming was special

Definitely when Jerzy Dudek saved the final penalty in Istanbul. We were all running towards him and the realisation hits that you’re European champions.

It took months for it all to sink in – what you’ve done, how the game went and just how stressful it was. I was very lucky to have been a part of it. 2005 was freaky, it was a miracle and, without a doubt, that homecoming was special.

Jerzy Dudek

Carragher embraces Dudek after the goalkeeper's decisive save

I never thought we’d be able to beat the post-treble celebrations in 2001, but then to come back and see those scenes, you realise the impact the game had on people’s lives. That reception is something I’ll never forget.

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This interview originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!

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