Carragher has a point to prove

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The Independent Football

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher expects to have to prove himself all over again when the new season kicks off.

The 32-year-old had a poor start to the previous campaign, mirroring the club's early problems, and looked a shadow of his former self.

However, as the season progressed he rediscovered the form which has made him one of the most consistent defenders of his generation.

But with the arrival of new manager Roy Hodgson - and teenage centre-back Danny Wilson from Rangers - the former England international knows his reputation will count for little if he cannot back it up with performances.

"You never know what might happen," said Carragher as he prepared to enter his 15th season in the Liverpool first team.

"Last year after a few games, the whole world had written me off and said I was finished.

"But in the second half of the season, along with Javier Mascherano and Pepe (Reina), I was probably one of the most consistent players and when you look at how the defence played, we managed to keep 18 clean sheets.

"That's gone now and you have to do it all again. There is going to be a challenge and it has always been the case that players will want to take your place but you just have to be ready for the challenge.

"I played every week for Rafa for six years but I've got to prove myself again.

"Even if Rafa had still been here that would have been the case.

"There will be a time when I don't play 50 games a season but I've no intention of it happening this year."

Although everyone at Anfield is keen to forget last season, when the club suffered early exits from the Champions League and FA Cup and slipped to their worst Barclays Premier League finish - seventh - in over a decade, Carragher believes they must learn important lessons.

"You have got to remember that right until the end, we were still in with a chance of getting into the top four," added the vice-captain.

"I know people are writing us off and saying we have got no chance but I've no doubt that we will improve.

"We are not the type of club that says we are going to do this or that but now is the time for everyone to come together again and show that we can leave last year's form well behind.

"There will be new ideas, difference voices on the training ground and all that helps.

"There is one thing that will never change: Liverpool will always be expected to do well and the pressure for us to be successful is just as intense as it was all those years ago; it might even be more.

"It will be like that for years to come."