Whenever Jamie Carragher has been brought on in the last few minutes of games (such as during Liverpool’s recent 3-0 victory over QPR at Loftus Road), people online often question the decision as (for instance) it would perhaps make more sense to give Sebastian Coates some minutes and experience, or perhaps reward Jordan Henderson’s good form with some playing time.
Looking at the statistics for the Premier League this season on EPLIndex, it starts to become a bit clearer why it is Carragher who is summoned from the bench ahead of the others.
Jamie Carragher has the best passing accuracy of any player in the league so far this season (with a minimum of fifty passes attempted), at 95.19%, and has lost possession less frequently than any other player too, at only once every 27.67 minutes played.
Carra has been brought on as a sub seven times so far, and five of those occasions have been in the last fifteen minutes of games that Liverpool have won.
So it would seem to me that Brendan Rodgers is being pragmatic (which is something he is often accused of not being at all) with the substitutions and bringing Carragher on as he knows he’ll keep the ball and prevent the opposition from having goal scoring opportunites when there is a lead to protect.
Granted, the Reds have won four of the above mentioned five games by three goals or more, so perhaps it has been unnecessary after all, but I found the above stats interesting and it may explain why Carragher has been getting a few cameos. Not just for sentimental reasons (as he closes in on second place in the club’s all time league appearances list) as many might assume.