Four time First Division winner Jimmy Case has expressed his anguish at Jamie Carragher retiring, claiming Liverpool would have won the league had he been available for selection.
‘‘Time will tell if they missed the boat, but Liverpool had an exceptional chance of winning the title last year,’’ said Case.
‘’Obviously, Luis Suarez was instrumental in those 101 goals they scored but, when it came to the crunch, they just needed that little bit of extra know-how to get them over the line.
‘’I was part of a side who won it four times, and we knew what we had to do.
‘’Six months ago they just lacked that bit of experience, one streetwise old head, who might have made all the difference. If Carragher had stayed on for one more season, Liverpool would have won it.
‘’He would not have played every game, but the way they lost it against Chelsea and Crystal Palace would not have happened.’’
Experience, more often than anything else, is cited as one of the most important factors when a team is coming into the closing stages of a title race and some could argue Manchester City had it, Liverpool didn’t.
Steven Gerrard had been involved in several high-profile games and could be classed as an experienced head, as could Glen Johnson, Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtl. However, Liverpool could have perhaps used an extra leader in the pack in order to prevent games like the Crystal Palace one, where the Reds conceded three goals in the last 10 minutes.
Nevertheless, it’s done now and Liverpool now need to focus on the current season and another title push – if possible.
One of the main components in that scenario becoming a possibility is enigmatic striker Mario Balotelli finding form and replacing the goals Luis Suarez provided last season.
Jimmy Case added: ‘’I think Balotelli is a very gifted player when he wants to be – and that’s the problem. The player himself needs to realise when he has to be switched-on.
‘’When I was captain at Southampton, I played with Matt Le Tissier – he was an absolute genius, but he could also be one of the lazy ones.
‘’I like those players because you never know what you’re going to get. And if you don’t know what your own team-mates are going to do, the opposition have no chance of knowing.’’