Jamie Carragher confident he will retire with Liverpool in a strong position

The vice-captain will stop playing in a few weeks

Liverpool vice-captain Jamie Carragher retires in a couple of weeks and is confident he will leave the club where he has spent his entire career in a healthy position.

There has been much debate about how manager Brendan Rodgers will replace an experienced centre-back with 735 appearances, with links to suitable options growing daily.

But the player himself believes the side has matured over the course of the season - admittedly with him at the heart of defence for half of it - and will continue to do so after he has gone.

Early on in Rodgers' reign, with the new manager trying to introduce his ideas, teenagers like Andre Wisdom, Raheem Sterling and Suso were all featuring on a regular basis.

But since January the Reds boss has settled on a more experienced line-up which includes Carragher and results have improved as a consequence.

"Looking at the season I think if you remember the start it was difficult with the transfer window situation," said Carragher, referring to Andy Carroll's loan to West Ham and a failed bid for Clint Dempsey, which left Liverpool with only one senior striker in Luis Suarez.

"From the start we had a lot of young lads in there and it wasn't easy.

"The second half of the season there has been more experience and the manager has implemented his ideas more and you can see that in results in and around January-February time we went on a decent run.

"The manager made a couple of signings (striker Daniel Sturridge and midfielder Philippe Coutinho) in January which gave us a boost so we're showing positive signs but we have to take it into next season."

While most of the focus has been on Liverpool's attacking strengths, the goalless draw in Sunday's 220th Merseyside derby was Liverpool's 15th clean sheet of the season - three more than they managed last year.

"You want to score goals and keep clean sheets. Myself and Pepe (Jose Reina) have always enjoyed keeping clean sheets and breaking records," Carragher added.

"I think only Manchester City are ahead of us (in clean sheets).

"But it is about coming together as a team and winning games, whether you keep clean sheets or score lots of goals the main thing is getting three points.

"We've kept a clean sheet but not scored. We'd have loved to have won 2-1 without keeping a clean sheet."

The season may be petering out for Liverpool but Carragher has no intention of taking it easy as the end of his playing career approaches.

"I've got two games left for Liverpool and I'll give it 100 per cent whether we're at the top or the bottom of the league," he said.

"I am going to thoroughly enjoy the last two games."

PA

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