Date: 23rd February 2012 at 4:05pm
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I was directed to an article on icLiverpool Wednesday morning, where Liverpool Legend John Aldridge talks about some ‘selection dilemmas’ he believes that Kenny is facing in the build-up to the League Cup final on Sunday.

While I agree with some positions he mentions raising questions for Kenny, i.e. does Henderson start, or Kuyt? Do Spearing and Adam start together? Or do we sacrifice one and go for a Suarez/Carroll pairing up front?  There are a number of dilemmas and I imagine Kenny will be analysing all the statistics for the season and calling on advice from his coaching team to make his decisions, along with how certain players perform in training throughout the week.

However, I have to disagree with Aldo in his suggestion that there is a dilemma surrounding who will start at centre-back.  He states that the only position that is a cert is Pepe Reina’s but I would go as far as to say that Skrtel and Agger are nailed on to start together too.  It’s been a long time since Jamie Carragher hasn’t been a first choice and I’m sure the past 4-5 months have really hurt as he can’t be used to spending most matches on the bench.  But now that we’ve found a centre back pairing that could potentially last us for another decade, we can’t do anything to disrupt their development now.

Aldridge’s suggestion is that Kenny will be torn between going with his first choice or going for the more sentimental selection and giving Carragher a start, arguing that he played in many of the earlier rounds.  I’m afraid I would have to completely disagree; this is no time for sentimentality, we need our absolute strongest team out there on Sunday and that doesn’t, I’m sorry to say, include Jamie Carragher.
He has been a beacon of leadership for the Reds over the years and people have all got their favourite Carragher memories from over the years but Jamie’s time has passed and if we’re to move in to the future we need to allow young players like Skrtel and Agger their chance in a major final.  Between them, Skrtel and Agger have provided Liverpool with the strongest defence in the country, after Manchester City and, together with Reina, Johnson and Enrique we have one of the most impressive back 5’s in Europe.

It is for this reason that playing Jamie Carragher for any other reason that absolute necessity would be folly.  He was a great player but we can’t underestimate how important winning on Sunday will be for the club.  We need that impetus and we need to remember what it was to win trophy.  More importantly, most of the younger players need to play 90 minutes of a final and gain that experience so that, in years to come, when we’re contesting FA Cup and Champions League finals, against more illustrious opponents they won’t feel utterly overwhelmed.

In that respect, it was the fact that the likes Carragher, Gerrard, et al had already had experience of many other cup finals that led to them not completely losing their heads in 2005, when 3-nil down; it was that experience that helped pull them out of that hole and in years to come, we will need Agger and Skrtel’s experience like we needed Carragher’s in 2005.  By all means, bring him on for 5-10 minutes at the end, but only once the game is won.  Jamie Carragher is a big part of our illustrious past but Martin and Daniel have to be our future.

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