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Rafael Benitez today paid Jamie Carragher a glowing tribute as the Liverpool defender prepares to clock up his 600th appearance in a red shirt.
Carragher will become only the ninth player in the club's history to reach 600 games for the Reds when he lines up in defence at Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon.
He may not have always received the credit his outstanding performances have deserved, but his manager is no doubt about the influence Carragher has had on the Reds' successes over the past decade.
"It's like I said with Stevie recently - to be at one club for such a long time and to play 600 games is absolutely amazing and shows the passion and commitment," said Benitez.
"Before I came here, I watched a lot of games and was analysing the players and Carra always stood out as you could see he was a clever player.
"He wanted to be a central defender and he was keen to learn; you can see that he has improved and improved every single year. He is a top professional.
"That is the difference between him and other players. Some have different qualities but he analyses, he reads the games well and he can adapt to different situations.
"It can be difficult for defenders to get recognition," Benitez observed. "For strikers and midfielders, it is easy because everyone can see their goals.
"With defenders, you tend only to see own goals and mistakes getting highlighted, so it is more difficult to keep up their profile.
"But during the time I have been here, you can only say that Carra has done really well; he is one of the best defenders in England - and I'm sure he will continue to do well."
Author: Paul Eaton Tagged:
, jamie carragher
, rafa benitez
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