Former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish admits he was surprised by Jamie Carragher's decision to retire from football at the end of the season.
The 35-year-old centre-back announced yesterday this would be his final campaign as a player despite only just winning back his first-team place.
"Jamie's decision was a surprise to me because he has just played as well as anyone against Arsenal and Manchester City," Dalglish told the Liverpool Echo.
"I thought he had a bit left in him yet but he knows himself better than anybody and if he thinks it is time to hang up the old boots that is totally his prerogative.
"It is always a difficult decision for a footballer - as hard a decision as you can face as a professional.
"It is more difficult because playing is the best part of your career - especially at the level he has played at and is playing at."
Bootle-born Carragher, at the club since the age of nine, has enjoyed 16 years in the first-team and has so far made 723 appearances, putting him behind only Ian Callaghan on the Reds' all-time list.
"We just have to be grateful that Liverpool has had a servant like Jamie," added Dalglish.
"As a local boy it is always special and Jamie is a local boy who has never once got carried away with it all and who can relate to the supporters. That's really important."