LIVERPOOL skipper Steven Gerrard has revealed how he had to admit defeat in his bid to convince Jamie Carragher to keep playing for another 12 months.
The midfielder was hoping his vice-captain and close friend would extend his Reds career into an 18th season but fully respects Carragher's decision to hang up his boots in May.
“I've known a little bit longer than other people. I've tried just as hard as everyone else to try to keep him going for a bit longer,” Gerrard said.
“He bounced a few things off me, but he's made the decision himself along with his family. He's basically taken no notice of what I said because I was trying for him to push on for another year.
“At times this season it has been difficult for him not being a regular starter because he has been a starter since he made his debut.
“I can respect and understand his decision. We're all going to come to that moment in our careers.
“He's had a fantastic career and he feels it's the right time to go out at the end of the season. Hopefully there are still some big performances left in him before he goes.”
Gerrard admits Carragher will be sorely missed both on and off the pitch and believes the 35-year-old deserves to be ranked alongside the greatest defenders in Liverpool's illustrious history.
“It's sad for me – I'm going to miss him more than anyone,” he added.
“It's going to be different for me, not having him alongside me as a vice-captain. It's tough.
“Everyone knows what we're going to miss on the playing side. Since I made my debut Jamie has been alongside me in the dressing room and been a close mate of mine.
“He has been through the journey with me as well. I've bounced a lot of things off him, highs and lows, and we've come through it all together.
“People mention him alongside the likes of (Alan) Hansen and (Mark) Lawrenson, the best defenders that this club has ever had. For me, if he's not alongside them he's a little bit above them. That's the biggest compliment I can pay him. He's a wonderful player. At his peak for two or three seasons he was one of the best defenders in the world.”
Carragher has returned to Brendan Rodgers' starting line-up in recent weeks and is set to make his 724th appearance for the Reds against West Brom tonight.
Gerrard believes the centre-back’s recent displays against Arsenal and Manchester City showcased just how much he still has to offer.
“You've seen in his last couple of performances against Arsenal and City, he has brought leadership into the back four,” Gerrard added.
“He organises, he’s a big voice and he's played very well. His last two performances have typified his career. He has come back in, hasn’t played much of late and has been one of our best players.”