Steven Gerrard: Jamie Carragher believes Brendan Rodgers' decision to leave out Liverpool captain caused his 38-second red card

Rodgers elected to start Joe Allen in midfield but the introduction of Gerrard at half-time quickly back-fired

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The Independent Football

Steven Gerrard’s shocking dismissal 38 seconds after coming on in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United dominated a fiery affair that has seen Liverpool lose ground in the race for the Premier League top-four and Champions League qualification.

But Gerrard’s former team-mate Jamie Carragher has put the reasoning behind his moment of madness to Brendan Rodgers leaving the Reds’ captain on the bench as he continues his return from a hamstring injury.

Gerrard was brought on at half-time in place of Adam Lallana, and had to immediately make his way back down the Anfield tunnel when he was shown a straight red card for deliberately stamping on United midfielder Ander Herrera.


Speaking on Sky Sports after the match, Carragher said: “There's no doubt that not playing at Swansea (in Liverpool's last game) and then not playing this game would be a frustration.

“He's been at Liverpool 17, 18 years, he's always been the man, the captain, there's never been a case where he's been out of the team and as soon as he's fit he goes straight back in the team.

Steven Gerrard stamps on Ander Herrera

“This is the first time I think, last week at Swansea and today, that hasn't happened, so there'll be frustration there.

“Watching the first half from the bench he'd have been disappointed, Liverpool weren't playing well, they were losing 1-0.

“But there would have been more frustration. I think he'd have been watching players in his position performing not great and thinking, 'Why am I not playing, why am I not on that pitch?”

The dismissal dished out by referee Martin Atkinson stands as the seventh red card of his professional career, and his record shows his tendency to let his emotions get the better of him in not the most important games, but the ones against their biggest rivals.

Twice Gerrard has been sent-off against United, and twice more against Merseyside rivals Everton, and Carragher explains that in his opinion, Gerrard’s style to wear his heart on his sleeve means that his moments of pure inspiration also involve these moments of pure frustration.

“Steven Gerrard is an emotional player,” added Carragher. “You see that in his career and it's taken teams I've played in into some unbelievable moments.

“Sometimes he hasn't played with his brain in terms of when he's done well, it's been his heart - the (FA) Cup final against West Ham, Istanbul (the Champions League final). That wasn't Steven Gerrard playing with a cold, calculated head, that was just playing from the heart. He can do special things like that.

Gerrard has been sent-off against United before

“But on the flip side of that, when he plays in games like this and he comes on maybe a bit frustrated - he's had seven red cards in his career, four of them have been Everton and Manchester United, two each now. An Everton one was coming off the bench, an Everton one was 15, 20 minutes into a game. I think the United other one was an FA Cup game in the first half and if I think right they were all straight reds.

“There's no doubt being a local player, the emotion of these occasions, the frustration coming into this game, has contributed to the moment of madness.”