Jamie Carragher insists he has no plans to hang up his boots any time within the foreseeable future – admitting the arrival of a new regime has served to boost his hunger for winning trophies at Anfield.Roy Hodgson has confirmed he intends to offer the vice-captain a new contract in the coming weeks, with Carragher confident a deal will be reached quickly.And the 32-year-old is hoping the all-new Liverpool medical team can help prolong his playing days by ensuring he remains in peak condition.
“We’ve got a whole new medical department and I’m hoping that will help me,” Carragher told Liverpoolfc.tv.”I’d say we are working a lot harder on the training ground right now. It’s been one of the toughest pre-seasons I can remember, and hopefully that will bode well for us in the season.”I love football. I always will do. As you get older people say your enthusiasm goes for training but at the moment I feel fine. The new regime coming in has helped that.”
Only the Barclays Premier League title has managed to elude Carragher so far during his 600-plus appearances in the Liverpool first team.However, his appetite for silverware remains as fierce as ever – though a top-four return remains a primary target for the No.23 this term.”You put more pressure on yourself when you see the finishing line coming up in a few years,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to win a few trophies in my career and I’d certainly like to win a couple more before I hang my boots up.”I think we’ll be pleased if we get back in the top four. That’s got to be the first target in the league. I’d also like to go closer to winning a cup competition.”
A busy summer for the club has created a mood of buoyancy around Melwood as Liverpool gear up for Sunday’s opener against Arsenal at Anfield.Carragher feels the installation of Hodgson as the club’s new manager, the acquisitions of Joe Cole, Milan Jovanovic and Christian Poulsen, and Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres reaffirming their commitment to the cause has left everyone itching for the onset of the new campaign.
“You’re always glad to get back, especially after the summer hasn’t gone well for the country and when the squad last season expected more and it didn’t happen. I’m looking forward to the season,” he said.”It is different but it’s always going to be different with a different manager and staff. It was the same when Gerard Houllier came in after Roy Evans – every manager has their own way of doing things. That gives people renewed energy or belief.”The club doesn’t change manager too often so when it does happen, it’s a big thing. Hopefully we can feel the benefit of that at the start of the season.
“I’m enjoying it. I’ve been here for my whole career so the only change for me happens when there’s a change of manager. It only happens every five or six years here.”We got the manager in place, then Joe Cole came on board and that was a big lift for everyone in the city and the dressing room. Stevie and Torres look like they’re staying, so it’s been a big few weeks for us. It’s given us a buzz and hopefully before the end of the transfer window there’ll be another two or three come in.
“With the changes that have been made, new ideas and new players coming in, it’s given everyone more enthusiasm.”Jovanovic and Cole will be hopeful of making their league bows for Liverpool against Arsenal having both impressed in the recent Europa League tie with FK Rabotnicki at Anfield.
Carragher added: “We haven’t seen Milan too much because he came back before us but I know Joe well from England duties. He’s a top player who’s done well. We’re delighted to get him and Milan.”They both did very well against Rabotnicki. Up to now it’s looking good but you have to judge new players at around Christmas.”The Reds resume European duties four days after tackling the Gunners when they contest the first leg of the Europa League play-off tie against Trabzonspor at Anfield.
A trip to Manchester City then follows, and Carragher acknowledges it’s a testing opening to the campaign for Hodgson’s contingent – though he’s certain it’s a start neither Arsenal nor City will be relishing.”It should be tough for them as well,” he said. “We’re no mugs ourselves! I’m sure that’s what they were thinking when the fixtures came out.”