Jamie Carragher has said the decision to prolong a 16-year playing career at Anfield will be determined by his involvement in the remainder of the Premier League season.
The Liverpool vice-captain is out of contract this summer and, despite the manager Brendan Rodgers's claims that the defender is fit enough to "play on", there have been no discussions over an extension. Carragher is disappointed with the lack of league appearances this season, with Saturday's recall in the 5-0 drubbing of Norwich City the defender's second Premier League start under Rodgers.
Carragher has started 11 matches in other competitions but admits the Premier League will be the main factor on when to call time on his playing career. "The manager has been great with me," said the defender. "He has tried to keep me involved but it's been a difficult season for me in terms of starting games. I've played a lot in Europe, the FA Cup and League Cup but the Premier League is the most important thing for the club and the players. We all want to play in that and I'm no different. The manager has always kept me involved by having me on the bench or bringing me on in different situations. But I want to start. I'm no different to any other player. I'm just pleased he gave me the nod on Saturday and pleased it went well."
Rodgers recalled Carragher in favour of Martin Skrtel against Norwich to improve the leadership qualities of the Liverpool team, a characteristic the manager felt was lacking in the defeat at Manchester United. He admits Carragher's future is being considered on a weekly basis but believes the 34-year-old can continue beyond this season.
The Liverpool manager said: "It's difficult when you're a senior player and you've been very much a No1 player. Steven Gerrard and Jamie have arguably been the best players for at Liverpool for 10 years. If that slips in 18 months and you're not playing as much then it is going to give the player a question to answer. We'll just take it week by week – he and I communicate a lot. What I know at this stage is he's 35 on 28 January but for me he's super-fit, in great condition and can still play on.
"There is no doubt we've missed the leadership he offers. We've done terrific against the teams at Anfield who can make it difficult but in the big games we want to kick on, and for that you need experience, leadership and organisation. That is something I know Jamie has got."
Rodgers's theory will be put to the test in Liverpool's next league games – away at Arsenal and Manchester City – and Carragher admits the remaining 15 league games could prove decisive.
Carragher added: "It's up to the manager and the club to make a decision like that [to offer a new deal]. I'm pleased I got a game at the weekend and I'll hope to get a few more now. It was only my second start in the league this season, which is disappointing from my point of view, but I said I wouldn't complain and I'm just trying to get more starts and be involved between now and the end of the season.
"I'll chat to the manager at the end of the season. I'm open-minded and I'm sure the club are. But the club getting results is the most important thing. It's not about what I'm going to do, that's something we can sort out one way or another."
Liverpool remain in talks with Internazionale over the proposed transfer of Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho. The Anfield club had an opening bid of £8m rejected by the Italian club last week and have been told to increase their offer to £10m to sign the 20-year-old.
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